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Volume 6 No. 216

Media

French broadcaster Canal+ has acquired "almost all" African football media rights for France through '16, according to Etienne Moatti of L'EQUIPE. The broadcaster paid €5.4M ($7M) for the '13 and '15 editions of the Africa Cup of Nations. Canal+ was also awarded the rights to all official competitions organized by the Confederation of African Football for an additional €3M ($3.9M). The deal includes all qualifying matches for the 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, the 2012 through 2016 African Champions League and the 2014 and 2016 African Nations Championship (L'EQUIPE, 10/10).

Sky Sports Managing Dir Barney Francis has admitted that the huge inflation in the cost of Premier League TV rights has led to "tough choices and could have implications for other sports," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Francis insisted that the cost to the consumer would "largely be absorbed by cost savings elsewhere but admitted there would be a knock-on effect" for other sports. Francis said, "You would expect us to build some inflation into our financial planning, and we have flexibility to absorb the bulk of these costs. But it is a challenge for the whole company, and choices have to be made (GUARDIAN, 10/10).

HOPING FOR A RUGBY BOOST: In London, Roger Blitz reported that BT Vision last month "added further firepower to its sports strategy" by paying £152M ($244M) to take over the Premiership rugby rights held by Sky and ESPN. Francis said, “We’ve had to make some tough choices, and one of these was around Premiership Rugby ... [They] took a decision to go with BT. It wasn’t particularly working for us and we were the junior partners ... We changed tack.” Asked if BSkyB had begun to focus on the next set of Premier League rights beginning in '16, Francis said, “The company has a long-term plan, and every director feeds into that. The sports rights market is like any market – it ebbs and flows. It’s particularly competitive now, it wasn’t particularly competitive two years ago” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/10).

Italian sports network Sportitalia will remain an official Turkish Airlines Euroleague basketball broadcaster for the next three seasons. Sportitalia has been the Euroleague broadcast partner in Italy for three years. Sportitalia will air live games and news footage on three of its stations -- Sportitalia, Sportitalia2 and Sportitalia 24. Sportitalia will have live broadcast rights to all three Italian teams -- Montespaschi Siena, EA7 Emporio Armani Milano and Mapooro Cantu -- in addition to other games throughout the season (Euroleague).

Marketing agency Sportfive has signed deals for media rights in Slovakia for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Free-to-air TV rights for the majority of the events at Sochi 2014 and all events at Rio 2016, as well as radio rights at both Games, have been awarded to Rozhlas a Televizia Slvenska (RTVS). RTVS is the national public broadcaster and has been a partner of the IOC for decades, covering a number of previous Games. Markiza-Slovakia Spol S.R.O. has signed a contract to broadcast one discipline of the Winter Games on free-to-air TV. The deal also includes pay-per-view TV, video-on-demand TV and Internet rights for both Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016. Pay-TV rights for all events at both Games have been secured by CET 21 Spol. S.R.O. (Nova Group). The deal with Markiza marks the first time that a commercial broadcaster will cover the Games in Slovakia. The agreement with Nova Group represents an additional milestone, as both Games will now be covered on pay-TV (Sportfive).

Brazilian broadcaster Globo will not show the U.S. F1 Grand Prix live because it takes place during Week 36 of the Brasileiro, according to Bruno Gecys of IG.com.br. Both events are scheduled to take place on Nov. 18 at 5pm local time. The race, held in Austin, Texas, will be shown six hours later. Globo has not confirmed if it would make the Brasileiro a priority over F1, but sources close to IG.com.br revealed that "the decision to pick football has already been made" (IG.com.br, 10/9).

IMG Media and AP joint venture SNTV revealed it will open a new office in Rio de Janeiro. As Rio readies itself for the 2016 Summer Olympics, SNTV will locate its new bureau at the AP's office. The Rio de Janeiro bureau will be the fourth permanent location SNTV has outside London. Its other offices are in N.Y., Beijing and Singapore. SNTV Managing Dir Martin Kay said, "Rio de Janeiro will consistently provide the biggest news stories in sport in the run-up to the next Olympic Games, so it is essential that we have a presence on the ground as the stories break" (AP).

Euroleague Basketball and free-to-air broadcaster Marca "have reached an agreement" that will give Marca, Marca.com, Radio Marca and Marca TV the media rights to the Euroleague in Spain, according to MARCA. The deal is for the '12-13 season. The broadcasts will start Week 1 with the following matchups (MARCA, 10/10):

  • CSKA Moscow vs. Lietuvos Rytas (Thursday, 6pm local time)
  • Unicaja vs. Maccabi Electra (Thursday, 8:45pm local time)
  • Besiktas JK Istanbul vs. Partizan mt:s Belgrade (Friday, 7pm local time)
  • Real Madrid vs. Panathinaikos Athens (Friday, 9pm local time)

Austrian TV channel ServusTV "set a new ratings record" in Austria with its broadcast of Thursday's failed Red Bull Stratos space jump, and even Germans tuned in, according to Alexander Krei of DWDL.de. ServusTV "obviously wants to broadcast extreme athlete Felix Baumgartners' next attempt to jump from out of space." The next try is scheduled for Sunday and "coincides with ServusTV's weekly German Hockey League (DEL) coverage." DEL fans "will have to go online" to watch the match-up between Hannover and Mannheim. The game will be live broadcast on the websites of ServusTV and also on Laola1.tv. ServusTV promises to provide TV viewers with regular scoring updates of the game. ServusTV CEO Martin Blank said, "Technically it is of course a big challenge. However, we are well prepared and will handle it professionally" (DWDL.de, 10/11). The same is true for Sunday's broadcast of the Austrian Erste Bank Eishockey Liga game between Klagenfurt and Villach that was also scheduled to air live on ServusTV. In case the space jump has to be aborted, ServusTV will broadcast both the DEL and the EBEL game live at 5:25pm CEST (ServusTV).  

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. has secured the broadcast rights to all 380 Premier League matches each year for seasons '13-14 through '15-16 in Singapore. These rights were acquired on a non-exclusive basis. The matches will continue to be available online on miostadium.com and on mobile via SingTel's BPL application (Premier League). THE STRAITS TIMES reported that Singapore's cable-TV operator StarHub is "still interested in acquiring" Premier League broadcast rights in the country, but "only if the price is right." Since SingTel acquired the rights on a non-exclusive basis, StarHub is left "free to secure its own deal." Under Singapore's cross carriage laws that came into effect two years ago, "pay-TV companies must allow competitors to carry exclusive programming they acquire" (THE STRAITS TIMES, 10/10).

Spanish broadcaster Mediaset "is very close" to reaching a deal to air the Spain vs. Belarus World Cup qualifying match on TV in Spain, according to José Félix Díaz of ELCONFIDENCIAL.com. Marketing agency Sportfive has the rights to the game and initially asked for €3M ($3.9M) in exchange for the rights to air the game in Spain, but it appears it will settle for €800,000 ($1M) from Mediaset. The "main problem" for the German company is that it initially paid €1M ($1.3M) to acquire the rights to the game, "so it will feel obligated" to sell them even at a lower price than what it paid (ELCONFIDENCIAL, 10/11).

The Spanish government is "negotiating with private broadcasters" so that the World Cup qualifying match between Spain and Belarus can be televised in the country, according to Joaquín Maroto of AS. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) believes that "in the end a deal will be reached." The initial 3€M ($3.9M) asking price of rights holders Sportfive has dropped to €1.5M ($1.9M), but as of now "no Spanish broadcasters has considered the offer profitable." Broadcaster Mediaset, with the government's help, "is negotiating with Sportfive." If a deal is reached, the broadcaster will be able to show Friday's game in Minsk, Belarus live (AS, 10/10).

Sportfive revealed that it has signed three deals for media rights in the Czech Republic for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The agency has secured a deal with Ceska Televize (Czech TV) for the free-to-air TV rights and selected Internet rights for the majority of events at Sochi 2014, as well as all events during Rio 2016. Radio rights for all events at both Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 have been awarded to Czech Radio. Both Czech TV and Czech Radio are national public broadcasters and long-standing partners of the IOC. They will use their experience of covering the Games to deliver exposure, primarily on free-to-air TV and radio. CET 21 Spol. S.R.O. (Nova Group) has also signed an agreement with the agency and will cover one discipline from the 2014 Olympic Winter Games on free-to-air TV. The commercial broadcaster will provide pay-TV coverage of events at Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016, as well as additional exposure on pay-per-view TV, video-on-demand and the Internet. The deal with Nova Group marks the first time that an agreement has been signed with a commercial broadcaster for the Games. It will offer innovative media coverage, including pay-TV, pay-per-view TV and video-on-demand, a first for all three in this territory (Sportfive).

Irish broadcaster RTÉ Sport has retained the rights to broadcast rugby's RBS 6 Nations Championship until '17. RTÉ has been awarded exclusive rights in Ireland to the championship as part of a four-year extension to its existing contract covering TV, radio and online (RTÉ). ... U.K.-based multi-channel golf retailer Direct Golf U.K. will launch a new iPad app as well as extensive updates to its existing Direct Golf apps for Android and iPhone. The free app enables users to watch information and video reviews on golfing equipment, as well as golf tips and drills from golf coaches. The app also provides a shopping guide (GOLFBUSINESSNEWS.com, 10/8). ... Greece Super League side Olympiacos FC has selected KYCK.com as its primary social platform. Olympiacos will create an official team page within KYCK. Users will be able to share photos, videos and links to stories about the club, as well as access with official content posted by the club (KYCK).