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Volume 6 No. 212


Great Britain’s biggest sports stars, including ManU striker Wayne Rooney, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and diver Tom Daley, "are cashing in on social networking by commanding hundreds of thousands of pounds from sponsors because of their popularity on Twitter and Facebook," according to Alex Miller of the London DAILY MAIL. Big companies "are increasingly willing to fork out lucrative contracts to athletes who boast large numbers of social media followers and who are actively engaged with them." In addition, "stars can also bank between £5,000 ($8,000) and £10,000 ($16,000) for any endorsed tweets they agree to post." Sports New Media social networking expert Nick Thain said: "For an athlete with 1 million followers, £5,000 for a commercial tweet (with 'AD' in the copy) is realistic -- it could be more -- and in our experience this area is hotting up." Team GB "pin-ups Ennis and Daley saw massive increases in their Twitter follower numbers during the Olympics." Tennis' world No. 3 Andy Murray "saw a substantial rise in followers after winning Olympic Gold and becoming the first British Grand Slam winner" in 76 years when he beat Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open. He has 1.3 million followers on Twitter. M&C Saatchi Sport  & Entertainment Managing Dir Jamie Wynne-Morgan believed that "the increases will mean bumper pay rises." He said, "Social media are now a big factor when sports stars extend or sign contracts" (DAILY MAIL, 11/3).

The radio broadcast of the cricket Tests between India and England was rescued after a telephone conversation between Board of Control for Cricket in India President N Srinivasan and England and Wales Cricket Board Chair Giles Clarke, according to Vijay Tagore of the DNA. The BCCI has agreed to accommodate the ECB chief’s request over TMS and BBC not having to pay the "heavy fee" that was wanted by the Indian board. The BBC wanted an air-conditioned studio, access to the ground and telephone connections to broadcast the matches. The BCCI has "agreed to provide these facilities at concessional rates." The key to the deal for the BBC was the "intervention of the chiefs of the two boards." It is unlikely that Sky TV, which "has also run into trouble with the BCCI" over the latter’s reported demand for £500,000 ($801,050), would get a similar concession. A board official said, "It is too late to meet the requirements of Sky even if they agree to pay the fee. We have to provide them an air-conditioned studio, a separate control room, uplinking facility. All this doesn’t come free" (DNA, 11/2).

German pay-TV channel Sky "obtained top ratings for its broadcast of Saturday's Bundesliga's top game," according to Alexander Krei of Sky attracted 1.24 million viewers, which was a market share of 4.8%, to its coverage of Bayern Munich's 3-0 victory against Hamburg SV. In the target age group, the game was watched by 620,000 viewers or a 6.7% share. In addition, 1.2 million viewers watched Sky's simulcast of Saturday's Bundesliga matches, which is almost 300,000 more than the previous Saturday. Meanwhile, public broadcaster ARD's Bundesliga highlight show "Sportschau" could only obtain a 15.7% share in the target age group, which "was unusually low for the program." A total of 5.3 million tuned in to watch the game summaries on ARD, which was about 300,000 less than the previous Saturday. Overall, Sportschau's market share decreased from 24% to 21.7% (, 11/4).

UAE-based Taj TV "has acquired television broadcast rights for West Indies cricket" for seven years beginning in January, according to the IANS. The deal will include "providing the television production for free-to-air stations throughout the Caribbean for the benefit of the West Indies cricket fans." Both parties have agreed, "on account of confidentiality clauses, not to publicly disclose the monetary value of the contract." Taj TV will feature 253 days of int'l cricket as part of the new rights deal. Ten Sports channel CEO Atul Pande said, "The recent upsurge in the West Indies team's quality further reinforces our view about our relationship with West Indies cricket going forward" (IANS, 11/3).