Australia's T20 cricket Big Bash League "recorded season-best ratings on Fox Sports" Wednesday night, according to Michael Bodey of THE AUSTRALIAN. The Perth Scorchers' "last ball win over the Melbourne Stars, which secured the team a grand final berth," averaged 369,000 viewers nationally. The number "is still well down on audiences" the domestic competition attracted last year, including 478,000 for Shane Warne's debut with the Stars. The record, however, "is a fillip for Cricket Australia," as it negotiates with free-to-air networks for its next broadcast deal. This year's BBL "struggled in its early matches with poor attendances and the TV audience ratings averaging only 230,000 before Christmas." Saturday's match averaged 178,000 viewers, but Wednesday's match "did much better" attracting 277,000 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/17).
BT has appointed London-based Pitch PR "to handle the launch of two sports television channels this summer as part of a brief potentially worth" up to £3M ($4.8M), according to John Owens of PR WEEK. The launch will see the telecom giant "going up against pay-TV leader Sky in Premier League football coverage for the first time in a bid for new subscribers." BT has invested in sports content "in an effort to boost" its BT Vision television service, which it sells as a "triple-play" package with its broadband and telephone services. A "well-placed source" said: "This isn't just about launching a TV channel -- it's key to BT's proposition going forward, and it has invest a lot of money in it. The launch will be high profile in what is a very competitive market" (PR WEEK, 1/17).
Australia's Nine Network Exec Producer of Cricket Brad McNamara said that without his network's "heavy financial commitment to Australian cricket," captain George Bailey might find himself "fliping burgers" for a living," according to the AAP. McNamara "sent down a bouncer of his own" following Bailey's attack on Nine a week earlier. Australia's selectors chose to rest players Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matthew Wade from the opening two games, "prompting criticism" from Nine Dir of Sport Steve Crawley. Bailey hit back on the eve of last Friday's opening game in Melbourne by "accusing Nine of making a tactical move to try to talk down one-day cricket during TV-rights negotiations." McNamara said, "Nowhere has Channel Nine ever talked the one-day game down, nowhere have we ever said this is a 'B team.'" He added, "It's rubbish, and George should stick to playing cricket and leave (TV) rights to the people who know what they're talking about. I reckon he's got his hands full as it is" (AAP, 1/17).
German pay-TV channel Sky Sport News HD "received top ratings" for its coverage of Wednesday's hiring of former FC Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola by Bayern Munich, according to Manuel Weis of QUOTEN METER. An average of 40,000 viewers watched Sky Sport News HD live coverage of the hiring between 4:30-6pm German time. The number translated into a market share of 0.2%. In the target demographic 14-49, the coverage obtained a 0.7% share. German free-to-air TV channel Sport1 "was not as successful with its coverage of the hiring." Sport1's show "Bundesliga Akutell," which aired at 6:30pm, attracted a channel average audience of 160,000 viewers. The number equaled a 0.9% market share (QUOTEN METER, 1/17).