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Volume 6 No. 193


The BBC will "broadcast all of England's UEFA European Women's Championship games" when the team heads to Sweden in July, according to the BBC. The deal "will see live coverage of all England's matches, both semifinals and the final shown across BBC Two and BBC Three." In addition, "all other peak-time matches will be broadcast on BBC Three." BBC Dir of Sport Barbara Slater said, "The response to women's football at London 2012 showed that there is a strong appetite for it" (BBC, 12/14). RADIO TIMES' Ellie Walker-Arnott noted though the men's UEFA European Football Championship "is always given extensive coverage on the BBC," the women's championship "is yet to receive the same treatment." The move "will please plenty of sport fans as well as Culture Secretary Maria Miller," who recently called for broadcasters to show more women's sport on TV as a "legacy from the Games." The England women's football team has "a good chance of reaching the final stages of the championship" (RADIO TIMES, 12/14).

Discovery's move to buy a 20% stake in Eurosport for $221.6M is the American broadcaster's first significant play in the sports media marketplace. And if Discovery exercises an option to take a controlling 51% stake in the company after two years, France-based TF1, which co-owns Eurosport, can exercise an option of its own that would give Discovery complete control in the company. Discovery President & CEO David Zaslav said, "Eurosport is a much more manageable sports programming model with diversified rights fees, as compared to higher and more competitive U.S. sports rights." Zaslav said he was attracted by Eurosports' portfolio of rights, which stayed away from big ticket items like European soccer. Zaslav: "Eurosport is not in the big sports business. It is in the affinity sports business. The goal is that on a number of days every month -- not every day -- that this is somebody's favorite network, whether it be skiing or tennis or curling. … It's carved out an interesting niche that's a little bit different than traditional sports, where the fees are very high. … It's the only platform where if you having skiing rights and you want to build that sport, it's the only platform where you can go and reach 59 countries." Zaslav said the Eurosport purchase does not make Discovery any more likely to compete for rights in the U.S. market. He said, "The U.S. sports business tends to be dominated by huge checks that you have to spend to buy a big sport, and then you build an asset around it. I don't see us getting into that business in the U.S. … The attack on sports in the United States is both aggressive and pretty well played. I don't see anything that we bring to the table with sports. The costs are very high. The margins aren't as attractive as our business" (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

ENHANCES DISCOVERY'S STRATEGY: Zaslav said with the acquisition of Eurosport, Discovery will be the “largest programmer in Europe and we'll be the largest pay-TV global programmer outside the U.S.” Zaslav: “It really enhances our overall strategy of taking our great content … and taking it around the world. This helps to supercharge that international story and reinforces the fact that as a global company, we're much stronger and geographically, we're much more stable and positioned for growth.” He noted Eurosport is the “leader in sports all across Europe,” and there is “no platform that even comes close.” Zaslav: “In fact, there is no platform that's really multi-country. So Eurosport is a great brand in 59 countries but more importantly, they're in the sports business without paying a lot of money for sports. … The attraction for us is we're in all 59 of those countries with between six and eight channels of our own. In most of those markets, we're the No. 1 channel for men, and we have a top channel for women. When you put that together with Eurosport, we think that we have some more value to bring to advertisers and distributors” (“Squawk on the Street,” CNBC, 12/14).

Racing UK, which broadcasts action from 33 of Britain's horse racecourses, "will gain a hugely significant addition to its roster of tracks from June '14 following a decision by Ascot, the country's premier venue, to join Racecourse Media Group, RUK's parent company," according to Greg Wood of the London GUARDIAN. The move is "a significant setback for At The Races, which is RUK's only competitor as a broadcaster of live TV coverage of day-to-day racing, and is left with a portfolio composed mainly of middle- and low-grade courses." Ascot's switch to RUK "will give the channel a near monopoly on the best races." The St. Leger at Doncaster, which is owned by ARC (formed recently by the merger of Arena Leisure and Northern Racing), "the only obvious omission." Ascot's new deal will begin on June 14, 2014, just before the course's Royal meeting. At The Races "has already lost Exeter, Kelso and Perth to RUK during '12, and will lose Folkestone and Hereford when the two courses, both owned by Arc, close at the end of the year" (GUARDIAN, 12/14).

German private-TV channel Sat.1 "obtained disappointing ratings" with its broadcast of Saturday's Race of Champions, according to David Grzeschik of QUOTEN METER. Sat.1 attracted only 650,000 to its broadcast of the event. The number equaled a 4.6% market share. In the target demographic 14-49, the broadcast received a 7.1% share.

FLYING FISTS: German public broadcaster ARD "obtained good ratings for its coverage of Saturday's World Boxing Organization world championship fight between Arthur Abraham and Mehdi Bouadla." At total of 3.74 million viewers tuned in to watch Abraham defend his super-middleweight title. The fight, which aired at 10:45pm local time, received a 14.1% market share. In the target demographic, ARD attracted 690,000 viewers, which equaled a 6.4% (QUOTEN METER, 12/16).

BULLSEYE: QUOTEN METER's Manuel Nunez Sanchez reported German free-to-air TV channel Sport1 "obtained low viewing numbers for its Friday broadcast of the Professional Darts Corporation World Championship." Sport1 attracted 120,000 viewers, which equaled 0.4%. In the target demographic, the event was watched by 70,000 or a disappointing 0.6% (QUOTEN METER, 12/15).