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Volume 6 No. 212


Growth markets, hot sports and the future of the NFL in London were some of the key issues discussed in a Global Sports Media panel during the ’12 Covington & Burling Sports Media & Technology conference. IMG Worldwide CEO Mike Dolan, Perform co-Founder & Joint CEO Oliver Slipper, Payne Sports Media Strategies CEO & Chair Michael Payne and Raine Group Founder & Partner Joe Ravitch looked at some of the latest trends in sports media rights globally. Slipper said, “We are seeing big growth in South America, especially Brazil. But it’s from a small base. Rights inflation is obviously driven by competition, and now there are four or five players out there buying content in that market.” Payne said that media rights from South America are increasing, but are still a small percentage of overall deals. Payne: “It’s only about 1% of the IOC’s total rights package, but it’s serious money. I think Brazil is probably reaching its full level. Of the BRIC markets, the one with the biggest growth potential is China, and that is dependent on the day we have competition. Right now, it’s controlled by the CCTV. But the moment the government opens the door, you will see big increases in China.” Dolan added, “Brazil is red hot. With the World Cup and the Olympics and the explosion of disposable income that is hitting the country and will hit it for the next ten years.”

REVENUE VS. DISTRIBUTION: The balancing of global properties going for revenue in new deals or distribution was also discussed, with Payne warning properties, “You are at your peril if you stretch your revenue an extra 10% and you compromise distribution. If you push your revenue and compromise your distribution, it will come back to hurt you.” Slipper said that most leagues will go for revenue over distribution. Slipper: “There aren’t many sports that take a socially responsible view when it comes to distribution over revenue.” But Payne countered, “It’s not socially responsible, it’s a matter of doing good business.”

The battle for next year's National Rugby League radio rights will be less than A$2M ($2.1M), a mere 1/500th of the TV rights agreed to in August, but the bargaining has been "far more protracted and confusing," according to Roy Masters of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Macquarie radio network, owned by John Singleton, is "expected to retain the rights" in conjunction with Triple M radio network, although they have been called ''preferred tenderers,'' rather than outright winners. The ''non-preferred'' bidder is a consortium of 2SM and Fairfax Radio, which owns 2UE, together with leading Brisbane and Melbourne stations, 4BC and 3AW, respectively. However, rights value and games coverage "has doubled from last season's payment" of less than A$1M for a broadcast of four games a week (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 11/9).

Digital sports media group PERFORM has confirmed a three-year deal with Serie A to "distribute the official Serie A TIM channel across digital platforms," according to The deal covers the distribution of official Serie A match content through ePlayer, PERFORM's market-leading sports VOD broadcast platform that is embedded into the sites of major Italian newspapers and means online fans can continue to follow news and action from Serie A. The deal also includes the launch of an official Serie A YouTube channel, which will "host the highlights of all the matches and a series of special clips dedicated to the best goals and action" (, 11/8).

The 2013 Winter Games New Zealand have partnered with IMG Media, part of IMG Worldwide, and are set to reach an unprecedented level of int'l TV and Internet coverage. Winter Games NZ will work with IMG Media to secure coverage across both the traditional broadcast and digital platforms. When some of the world’s top athletes, including New Zealand Olympic gold hopeful Jossi Wells, compete, the TV coverage will be delivered to at least 25 targeted countries in the form of 14 daily 22-minute highlight shows, one 52-minute official film and daily video news releases resulting in an audience reach in excess of 1 billion homes. As one of the top five winter sports events in the world, Winter Games NZ will feature snow sports athletes from around the globe as they prepare for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. With five Int'l Ski Federation World Cup and three Int'l Paralympic Committee World Cup events, Winter Games NZ will play an important role in the Olympic and Paralympic qualification process. The event will take place Aug. 11-25 (Winter Games NZ).

ManU "appears to be embracing social media," as the football club is "looking for a digital guru" to join its online team to provide content for its estimated 659 million followers worldwide. The role will be "focused on the club’s Facebook account," which has 28.4 million members. The successful candidate will join "a growing editorial team" to "create engaging content for a number of U.K. and int'l social media channels" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 11/7). ... Broadcaster beIN Sport President Nasser Al-Khelaifi revealed that al-Jazeera's pay-TV sport channels in France reached more than 1 million subscribers just five months after its launch (beIN Sport). ... D1D2 Sport has acquired the global broadband, mobile and Internet global rights to the Nigerian national football team, the Super Eagles, and exclusive TV rights to selected countries. The deal includes the exhibition friendly match against Venezuela to be played in Miami Wednesday. Live TV rights include Europe, Scandinavia, UAE, Australia and Sudan (D1D2 Sport).