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Volume 10 No. 24


The Twenty20 Big Bash League "will be shown on free-to-air TV for the first time under the terms of cricket's new A$400M ($420M) broadcast-rights deal," according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The competition "is now televised by Fox Sports, but under the new broadcast-rights arrangement with Cricket Australia, to be finalised in the new year, Channel Nine will also get a slice of the local T20 pie." Fox Sports "has agreed to allow Nine to simulcast the BBL finals" -- two semifinals and the final itself -- as part of its bid to "retain the domestic rights, which expire at the end of the season." There have been suggestions that the overall new cricket-rights package "will fetch as much as A$500M over five years." CA estimates its total TV-deal revenue "will top A$1B, taking into account its overseas contracts such as its rich deal with India's ESPN STAR Sports." However, sources close to the negotiations have told Fairfax Media that "the most the rights would draw would be A$80M a year, making a total of A$400M over the five-year term." Negotiations between the existing TV companies and CA "have crept along slowly and are certain to continue into the open market beyond Nine and Fox Sports' period of exclusivity, which ends on Dec. 31" (SMH, 12/7). The COURIER-MAIL reported "while the Big Bash TV deal may still be months away, there is little doubt it is an attractive package, especially considering Fox Sports' Big Bash coverage last summer produced record ratings for domestic cricket." The Big Bash "is poised to become increasingly attractive to int'l audiences, and especially with viewers in cricket-mad India, who are always eager for more cricket on TV." Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann "believes the Big Bash, and T20 cricket in general, will continue to explode in popularity." Lehmann "believes the next step for the Big Bash is greater exposure on free-to-air TV." He said, "The talk around the traps is it will end up on free-to-air as well as pay-TV. That is what everyone would like, I suppose" (COURIER-MAIL, 12/6).

Channel Nine's 33-year "stranglehold on Australian cricket's broadcast rights is under siege, with Channel Ten preparing to throw everything at a prized new deal," according to Ben Dorries of the COURIER-MAIL. For the first time since Kerry Packer won the rights in '79 after the World Series Cricket split, there is "serious competition for cricket's telecast rights, with Ten emerging as a key player." Cash-strapped Ten is preparing to "try to steal the traditional jewel of Nine's sporting crown in a major TV sporting war." Ten COO Jon Marquard said, "We are very interested in all of the cricket rights, and we will be engaging with Cricket Australia." Industry sources said that Nine has now "realized it is in for the fight of its life to retain the cricket, with Seven also showing an interest." Ten's looming bid, possibly in conjunction with Fox Sports, which could show some limited-overs internationals and the Big Bash competition, has the "potential to change the face of cricket" (COURIER-MAIL, 12/7).

German public broadcaster ZDF "obtained Wednesday's top rating with its broadcast of the Champions League match between Bayern Munich and FC BATE Borisov," according to Sidney Schering of QUOTEN METER. A total of 7.09 million viewers tuned in to watch Bayern's 4-1 victory. The number equaled a market share of 23.8%. In the target demographic 14-49, ZDF obtained a 17.7% share. German pay-TV channel Sky attracted a total of 540,000 viewers to its simulcast of Wednesday's Champions League games. In the target demographic, Sky's broadcast was watched by 260,000. The numbers translate into market shares of 1.8% and 2.6%, respectively (QUOTEN METER, 12/6).

German public broadcaster ARD "could lose its Bundesliga audio rights as the German Football League (DFL) puts the audio rights to the Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga up for bid for the first time." A decision about the leagues' audio rights for the seasons '13-14 to '16-17  will be made by the end of March. The DFL said that "there is serious competition for ARD." The DFL currently generates €7M ($9.1M) a year through its audio rights (SPORT 1, 12/6). ... Motorsports governing body FIA launched its new magazine called AUTO this week. Here's the first issue (FIA).