Seven West Media has secured free-to-air broadcast rights for V8 Supercars at a lower price than the last deal, "representing a possible watershed moment in Australian sports rights," according to Davidson & White of THE AUSTRALIAN. The two-year deal represented a "major haircut" for the sport. Seven agreed to pay about A$18M ($19M) a year in upfront annual fees. The V8 digital rights "will be auctioned in the coming weeks, and Seven is said to be keen to win those as well." TV execs said that second-tier sports had "entered a deflationary environment, as advertising revenue had become persistently weak." Under the new deal, an ad revenue sharing mechanism "will be activated after Seven recoups its incremental production costs." The deal is the first in more than two decades where the rights have been sold for less than the value of the previous contract. The deal "could be a pointer to lower returns for other sporting codes." Tennis and cricket rights are "still up for grabs" and concerns that declining ratings for the second season of the Big Bash League will "limit the amount Cricket Australia can ask for the free-to-air and pay-TV rights" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/16).
BETTER THAN EXPECTED: In Sydney, Colin Kruger reported V8 Supercars were "expected to struggle to get any bidding tension." Nine Entertainment and the Ten Network have instead focused on "the more important cricket broadcast rights, which are also up for grabs." The agreement covers V8 Supercars championship season and the Bathurst 1000. V8 Supercars CEO David Malone said, "This is an excellent outcome for the sport and fans" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/15).
German free-to-air TV channel Sport1 "has acquired an extensive rights package for the '13 World Rally Championship season," according to MOTORSPORT TOTAL. The agreement between the channel and the WRC promoter, a joint-venture of sportsman media and Red Bull Media House, "runs only for one year and includes comprehensive marketing rights including live TV rights, as well as distributing rights for online and mobile." Sport1 "will show highlights from each of the 13 races of this year's world championship." In addition, Sport1 "will have live broadcasts from selected WRC events." The '13 season starts with the Rally Monte-Carlo on Thursday, and Sport1 "will cover the event starting at 5:30pm German time" (MOTORSPORT TOTAL, 1/15).
German pay-TV provider Sky Deutschland "is in talks with telecom company Vodafone about offering Sky's programming on the telecom's IPTV service," according to DIGITAL FERNSEHEN. After Sky agreed to a IPTV distribution deal with Deutsche Telekom last week, the company "seems keen on increasing its IPTV coverage even further." Sky Deutschland CEO Brian Sullivan said, "As a content creator, we consider ourselves a neutral party and are therefore interested in partnerships as long as the conditions are right." Sullivan described Vodafone as the only "traditional IPTV provider" besides Telekom. Sullivan sees advantages for both Sky and Dusseldorf-based Vodafone in a possible cooperation because IPTV is, in his view, "a growing market in Germany" (DIGITAL FERNSEHEN, 1/14).
STAR Sports "has appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the brand ambassador of the inaugural edition of Hero Hockey India League" that started Monday, according to Gaurav Laghate of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. The inaugural edition of the field hockey league "is being broadcast with Hindi commentary on STAR Sports, while STAR Cricket will broadcast select matches of the league in English." The matches "will also be streamed live on YouTube." A total of 34 matches will be played across 24 match days. The broadcaster "has also unveiled a panel of hockey experts and presenters who will do commentary on live telecast" as well as pre- and post-match analysis throughout the league. The Hindi commentary panel includes former Indian players Mir Ranjan Negi, Jugraj Singh, Deepak Thakur, Mohammed Shahid and Pargat Singh. The English commentary panel comprises of Viren Rasquinha, Cedric D’Souza, AB Subbaiah and Sandeep Somesh (BUSINESS STANDARD, 1/14).
Premier League Chair David Richards will assist the FA of Thailand "during negotiations over the broadcast rights to the Thai Premier League." FAT President Worawi Makudi said that the TPL "will be seeking a three-year deal, beginning in '14, worth at least" 600M baht ($19.9M) annually. Negotiations "will begin in March" (BANGKOK POST, 1/15). ... The German Football League (DFL), the commercial arm of the Bundesliga, has launched a separate website to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bundesliga. At 50jahre.bundesliga.de, fans will be able to access historic photos, videos and information from five decades of Bundesliga football. The league celebrates its 50th birthday on Aug. 24 (DFL).