Australia's Ten Network will make a "concerted bid to win the free-to-air sports rights for tennis and cricket next year," as it rolls out a more back-to-basics programming schedule, according to Darren Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. Ten is wanting sports rights after dropping the Australian Football League last year and missing out on the National Rugby League rights in August "following a bidding war" with the Nine and Seven networks that saw Nine retain the rights. Seven currently holds the free-to-air and new media tennis rights from Tennis Australia. With the "heightened interest in sports rights," it is believed Tennis Australia will see if it can achieve an increase in what networks are prepared to pay for the rights. Ten may also eye cricket rights, although Nine execs are "quietly confident they can retain the rights if the company can come out of its debt predicament unscathed" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/15).
For the first time in "more than three decades," the Spanish national team played a game that was not televised on Spanish TV, according to VERTELE.com. The 2014 World Cup qualifying match between Spain and Belarus in Minsk, was not aired by any broadcasters due to the "elevated economic demands" of right holders Sportfive. The only fans that were able to follow the game in Spain were the ones that had satellite. Portugual's SportTV, Indonesia's RCTI and Qatar's al-Jazeera all aired the game. Even radio broadcasters had to call the game from their hotel rooms, as they believed the €25,000 ($32,393) fee to get into the Dynamo stadium in Minsk, Belarus was "exorbitant" (VERTELE, 10/13).
F1 is close to signing a multiyear U.S. rights deal with NBC Sports, according to several sources. The deal could be signed as early as this afternoon. NBC is expected to make a formal announcement early next week. Terms of the deal are not yet known, but sources said NBC outbid Fox. Sources valued Fox' previous deal in the low seven figures annually. The move ends a 16-year relationship between Fox and F1, as the racing circuit first sold its U.S. rights to Fox in '96. In the ensuing years, Fox showed a handful of races every year on its broadcast network, but the majority were on Speed. Fox Sports VP/Communications Lou D'Ermilio said, "It's disappointing to learn that F1 has elected to move forward with a different media partner. Speed has been the U.S. voice of F1 since the mid '90s, and it is a passion for many people at the network. Fox Sports Media Group made what we believed to be a fiscally responsible bid based on the sport's current viewership levels, but F1 has elected to go in another direction. We wish them well." NBC and F1 have agreed to a similar deal to what the racing circuit had with Fox, with the broadcast net carrying a small number of races each year and NBC Sports Network carrying the bulk of the schedule. The move helps NBC as it looks to build up the programming lineup on NBCSN with more live sports. The move also fits Fox Sports' strategy, as it is in the process of switching its Speed cable channel into an all-sports channel called Fox Sports 1. That channel would carry programming like MLB, college football and UFC. There is less of a need for racing programming like F1.
German public broadcaster ZDF obtained "dream-like" ratings for its coverage of Germany's 6-1 victory against Ireland in Friday's World Cup qualification match, according to Daniel Sallhoff of QUOTENMETER.de. A total of 9.67 million viewers tuned in to the game, which started at 8:48pm CEST, or a 29.8% market share. In the age group 14-49, ZDF's broadcast attracted 3.56 million viewers or a 30.3% share. Those numbers increased in the game's second half with a total of 11.14 million viewers overall and 3.87 million in the marketing relevant age group. The market share of the second half climbed to 39% and 34.6%, respectively (QUOTENMETER.de, 10/13).
FRANCE: TF1's broadcast of the France vs. Japan friendly in Paris was watched by an audience of 5.1 million people and a 21.3% share (PROGRAMME-TV.NET, 10/13).