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Volume 10 No. 22


The Premier League has awarded its U.S. TV rights to NBC for three seasons beginning with the '13-14 campaign. NBC will broadcast live Premier League games, with Spanish-language coverage being broadcast on Telemundo and mun2. The broadcast channels reach 95% of the U.S. viewing public (Premier League). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir reported NBC will "pay the league $80M to $85M annually," and will televise "up to 380 games a season on the NBC broadcast network, the NBC Sports Network and at least two other cable networks." About 200 games "will be available on the NBC networks in six time periods on Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the league’s 10-month season." Remaining EPL games will be "available online or in some other packages, one of them probably pay-per-view." NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said, "There will be live, exclusive games, and we’re not going to tape delay any of them. Multiple games go on at once, and we can’t carry every one on our networks. But we won’t regionalize games." Sandomir reports NBC "has no plans to resell any of the games to another network, as Fox Soccer now does, sublicensing about a fifth of its games to ESPN." Lazarus: "We think this is a terrific property that we can do a lot with, and the leadership of the Premier League is interested in doing new things in the United States. ... The price we're paying for the Premier League is a terrific value for us" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29). Lazarus said the games draw a "couple hundred thousand" viewers in the U.S. He added that that he "expects to increase that number over time." Lazarus: "Did we pay more than the others before, yes. But we think the value is there" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/28).

BEAUTIFULLY DRAWN UP:'s Richard Deitsch wrote acquiring EPL rights "gives NBC the most significant soccer portfolio among American broadcasters." NBC is "counting on the EPL to bring eyeballs (and affluent ones at that) to NBC Sports Network, which could use an infusion of high-caliber programming with the NHL on lockout and depressed MLS ratings." Lazarus said, "It will not be unlike the Olympics where you saw programming on CNBC, Bravo, USA or MSNBC." He added that EPL fans "can expect a number of games to be broadcast on over-the-air NBC." Deitsch noted those matches will "likely air Saturdays and be shown live" (, 10/28). The AP's Rob Harris noted NBC Sports Group in '11 acquired MLS TV rights, and had "success with its soccer broadcasts during the London Olympics." NBCSN's "biggest property is the NHL, whose season runs concurrently with English soccer." Lazarus said that the EPL "will be a good complement to the network's hockey coverage." Lazarus: "It's a younger skewing sport than some others out there, like some that are in a championship series right now" (AP, 10/28). 

MAJOR BLOW:'s Deitsch in a separate piece wrote the loss of EPL rights is "significant for Fox, even though it owns the World Cup for rights beginning with the 2015 Women's World Cup in Canada." EPL has been "the jewel in Fox Soccer Channel's programming, and much of the network's programming centers around commentary and news of the league." NBC "sees opportunity in int'l soccer, which has been trending upward as a television property" (, 10/26). In N.Y., Belson & Sandomir wrote the deal is "the latest blow to a channel that once dominated the soccer scene on American television." Fox has broadcast the EPL in the U.S. for "nearly two decades." But a source said that NBC will pay "just under four times more than Fox currently pays for the rights" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26).

MORE RIGHTS AWARDED: Int'l Media Content, parent company of SportsMax Ltd., has been awarded EPL broadcast rights from '13-16 in the Carribbean. SportsMax President & CEO Oliver McIntosh said, "For 10 years now, SportsMax has provided coverage of the BPL (Barclays Premier League), this season increasing the number of matches we show to five each weekend and ensuring that all BPL matches each weekend are broadcast" Also, Sportsnet and TSN have been given EPL broadcast rights in Canada (Premier League).

Univision Deportes has reached a 10-year agreement with CONCACAF to broadcast confederation matches in the U.S. The contract was executed last week and was expected to be announced Monday. Running through '22, the deal is the longest broadcast agreement in CONCACAF’s history. It secures long-term rights for Univision to events it has held individually and on shorter terms in the past. Those rights include the exclusive Spanish and Portuguese broadcast rights to CONCACAF’s Gold Cup and Champions League and several other tournaments. Matches will air on several of Univision Deportes’ platforms, including Univision, TeleFutura and Univision Deportes Network, as well as online and via mobile. Financial terms of the deal were unavailable. “This substantial deal demonstrates the growing interest in the game among American fans and will ensure millions more can enjoy their favorite matches throughout the United States,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb in a statement. The final match between the U.S. and Mexico at last year’s Gold Cup, a 12-nation tournament held every two years, was the highest-rated sports broadcast in Univision’s history, with more than 10.8 million viewers. Between '09-11, Spanish-language viewership for the Gold Cup increased 36%. “With this groundbreaking deal,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president of Univision Deportes, “we are delivering the richest soccer rights portfolio in Hispanic sports media.” Univision holds the U.S. Spanish-language broadcast rights to the 2014 FIFA World Cup; the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup; the national teams of Mexico, the U.S., France and Germany; France’s Ligue 1; and MLS, among other teams and tournaments.

The BBC is expected to finalize a deal this week that will "avert the threat of Test Match Special being silenced, or at least grounded," for England's forthcoming cricket series in India, according to Andy Wilson of the London GUARDIAN. BBC has been "standing alongside Sky" in a dispute with the Indian cricket authorities who are "demanding extra money to cover the costs of broadcasting facilities on top of the rights agreements that have already been negotiated with Star TV." The BBC has been "backed into a corner." It has "stressed the importance of its commentators being able to convey the atmosphere from the ground," to emphasize the difference between its TMS offering and the coverage provided by sites such as, where the commentary is "provided from TV pictures along the same lines of Sky's Soccer Saturday programme." That leaves it in "a weak bargaining position" with the Board for Control of Cricket in India, and "must raise questions about the value of for radio rights, which "does not guarantee commentators entry to the grounds" (GUARDIAN, 10/29).

ESPN Star Sports "has secured the exclusive broadcast rights for all FA Cup matches, the FA Community Shield and all senior and U21 England team home matches for the next six years until '18 for the South Asia Region including India," according to the PTI. The multimedia-platform deal, which allows the content to be made available across TV, Internet and mobile, was made with int'l media rights company MP & Silva. Starting from Saturday, ESS "will begin broadcast of the first round of matches all the way up to the final in May" (PTI, 10/29). reported MP & Silva has also "secured a deal with SBS Australia to distribute the media rights of the 2014 World Cup in all territories in Oceania (excluding New Zealand)." The package "offers all 64 live matches and ceremonies of the 2014 World as well as daily highlights of 45 minutes." The offer also brings all FIFA tournaments between '12-14, including the Confederations Cup, Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti and the Futsal World Cup in Thailand. MP & Silva "also distributes top European football in Asia," including the EPL, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 (, 10/29). The BANGKOK POST reported Bangkok Broadcasting and TV, the operator of Channel 7, "has obtained the rights to broadcast live FA Cup matches from the U.K. for the next six seasons." The matches "will be aired on all platforms operated by the company and its partners, including satellite TV, cable TV through Media Boom channel and Internet via" These channels "will broadcast matches for free" (BANGKOK POST, 10/29).

New Zealand's All Blacks squad to tour Europe has been named, but Sky Television has "yet to confirm" whether it will be broadcasting the match, according to Patrick McKendry of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Sky spokesperson Kirsty Way said that Sky TV and an int'l brokerage company negotiating on behalf of the Italy Rugby Union "have yet to agree on a price for the rights." Next month's Skywatch magazine cover features cartoons "representing an All Black and players from Scotland, England and Wales, but an Italian is conspicuous by his absence." This also applies to the listings as there is no indication of the match against Italy in Rome. The game is scheduled to kicks off at 3am (NZT) on Nov. 18. Way added, "We're in negotiations, Sky has put a bid for the match, we're very keen to show it, but we have not received confirmation that we have been successful" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 10/29).

The prices of Australian TV sports rights are growing faster than in any other major market, according to Nick Tabakoff of THE AUSTRALIAN. Research conducted by sports consulting group Repucom has shown TV deals for Australia's two premier football codes, National Rugby League and Australian Football League, over the past 18 months have "catapulted Australia to the top of an int'l list of growth rates for sports rights." The NRL in the past couple of months attracted a remarkable A$1.025B ($1.034) for its five-year rights for free-to-air and pay-TV from Nine Entertainment and Fox Sports -- "more than double what it was paid for its six-year rights in '06" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/29). In Sydney, Sally Jackson reported that TV networks said broadcast rights to the major sporting events "remain value for money." The "most obvious benefit for networks is ratings." Australian viewers "love live, local sport and where their eyeballs go, advertisers follow." Ten Network Sports Dir David Barham said, "It's a pretty simple equation: ratings and revenue. Ratings are going to drive revenue. Revenue drives sponsorship prices." However, it is not often networks profit much from broadcasting contracts for big sports, whose larger benefit are its "halo effects, boosting entire networks' images and delivering branding and cross-promotional opportunities across schedules." There is one downfall, however, called the "reverse halo." In "one of the best-known examples," after Seven lost the AFL broadcast rights at the end of the '01 season, viewers of its Sunday night Melbourne news bulletin fell by 27% in '02 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/29).

The Eurosport Group and Infront Sports & Media revealed they have extended their long-term partnership of the eni FIM Superbike World Championship for the '13, '14 and '15 seasons, with new exclusivity in four markets. Eurosport has renewed the TV and digital rights to the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, including support classes FIM Supersport World Championship and FIM Superstock 1000cc Cup. In a change to the previous deal, Eurosport is now the exclusive live broadcaster on air, online and on mobile in the U.K., Ireland, Germany and France. This pan-European agreement includes all 59 territories covered by Eurosport. All rounds of the three championships will be shown live or delayed in high definition on either Eurosport or Eurosport 2 channels. Digital rights will see all races, including the Superpole qualifying, broadcast on Internet and mobile on the Eurosport Player online streaming service (Infront).