BT has appointed boxing channel Boxnation CEO Simon Green "to run its new sports channel," according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. Green has been hired as the head of the new BT Sport pay-TV channel and "will be responsible for output," including the £738M ($1.2B) of Premier League rights BT acquired from BSkyB. Green has previously worked at BSkyB and Setanta before landing at Boxnation, which launched on U.K. TV last year. Green will report to BT Vision Telecommunications TV Business CEO Marc Watson. The production contract is "being contested" by ITV. It is "not clear who the other bidders are, but they could include sports production companies such as IMG Worldwide, All3Media, North One Television and Sunset+Vine," which is owned by Welsh-based production group Tinopolis (GUARDIAN, 10/17). In L.A., Georg Szalai reported UBS analyst Polo Tang said that BT's strategy is to "use sports to drive subscribers to its fiber network-based pay-TV service BT Vision," which as of mid-year had 728,000 subscribers (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 10/17).
FIFA is hesitating at the idea of showing 2014 World Cup games in 3D, according to the AFP. Although football's governing body showed 25 matches from the 2010 South Africa World Cup in 3D, the "significantly higher" production costs for the Brazil edition are a major turn-off. FIFA TV Division Dir Niclas Ericson said, "It is a decision that still has to be made." HBS, which has been producing World Cup images since '98, Dir Francis Tellier added that the cost of production "would be 40% higher" for Brazil than the €100M spent for the 2010 World Cup. Tellier explained, "In South Africa, we had two buses that traveled around the country to broadcast one game in 3D per day. For Brazil, things are not the same in terms of size. We would have to put everything in a plane everyday" (AFP, 10/15).
CCTV-IMG, a joint venture between China state TV network CCTV and IMG Worldwide, has entered into a 10-year partnership with the Chinese Super League, the country's top football league. This includes developing the CSL, helping improve management of Chinese football clubs, advising on development of training programs for young and future players and establishing corporate sponsors for CSL events. CCTV-IMG will immediately launch a marketing effort to bring new corporate partners to the CSL, including title sponsorship of the league beginning in '14 (CCTV-IMG).
DEVELOPING THE SPORT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Futterman & Mozur wrote the deal marks IMG's "return to a leadership position in one of China's most popular sports." IMG "helped China create the country's first professional league, the Jia-A League, in the early '90s, but the two entities parted ways in '03 when the league turned to another company." However, during the past decade, Chinese football "has been racked with charges of bribery and corruption, with dozens of officials sent to jail." A new generation of Chinese billionaires "has taken over" the 16-team league and "has begun to import some of the biggest stars in the world," including former Chelsea F Didier Drogba, who this year joined the Shanghai club. Drogba's move "signaled China's emergence as a growing force" in int'l football. IMG Senior VP/Global Business Development & Football Jefferson Slack said, "The Drogba signing was transformational." CSL club Qingdao Jonoon FC CEO and CSL Board Of Director member Yu Tao said that the league "decided to work with IMG partly to build the league's reputation abroad." Under the deal, IMG "will have a hand in every level" of the CSL, "assisting teams with selling tickets, running club operations and training players." China also is "intent on developing homegrown stars." IMG execs said that they have "discussed assisting with training but haven't reached an agreement on a defined role" (WSJ, 10/17).
German public broadcaster ARD "obtained above-average ratings for its coverage of Tuesday's World Cup qualification game between Germany and Sweden, according to Jan Schlüter of QUOTENMETER.de. A total of 13.18 million people watched the "chaotic game in which Germany gave up a 4-0 lead in the last 30 minutes." The game, which started at 8:46pm CEST, "ended in a 4-4 tie and obtained a 41.1% market share." In the marketing relevant age group 14-49, ARD's game broadcast attracted 4.79 million viewers for a 37.4% share (QUOTENMETER.de, 10/17).
SPAIN: 20MINUTOS.es reported that La 1's broadcast of the World Cup qualifying match between France and Spain "was the most-watched qualifying match in 16 years" with an audience of 8.982 million people and a 44.1% share. The most-watched minute of the game occurred at 10:47pm local time when 11.024 million viewers were tuned in resulting in a 49.8% share (20MINUTOS.es, 10/17).
FRANCE: LE PARISIEN reported that broadcaster TF1 had "more than" 8.5 million viewers and a 33.1% share for the clash at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid. The game ended 1-1 after French striker Olivier Giroud equalized at the last second (LE PARISIEN, 10/17).