The success of the NBA’s efforts "to turn the league into a global brand was apparent this weekend" as more than 312 int'l media members from 46 countries traveled to Houston to cover the NBA All-Star weekend, according to Alicia Jessop of FORBES. NBA Senior VP for Int'l Media Distribution Matt Brabants said, "The international fan interest in this year’s All-Star has been incredible, and there is a tremendous amount of anticipation for tonight’s game." To broadcast the All-Star game globally, the NBA "relied on 45 cameras from TNT and another 5 from the NBA." These cameras then "sent footage across the globe to the various media outlets covering the weekend’s events." While many int'l countries "had live reporters on the ground in Houston," some countries "relied upon footage being sent to them in real-time" for their anchors to provide commentary on while watching the game on TV. Overall, NBA TV Int'l "provided viewers in 88 countries footage" of the weekend's events. This weekend’s events "reached fans live in 215 countries and territories watching television in 47 different languages." That the int'l media "has widely embraced the NBA is welcomed news to the league." NBA Commissioner David Stern said, "Our international prospects remain as strong as ever. Our digital footprint will become larger country by country" (FORBES, 2/17).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
A-League CEO Damien de Bohun "has defended this season's revamped finals format amid claims it disadvantages the top two teams and can potentially reward mediocrity," according to Ray Gatt of THE AUSTRALIAN. As the season enters the final stretch before the playoffs, more focus "has been put on Football Federation Australia's decision at the start of the season to remove the double chance for the teams finishing first and second, eliminate the preliminary final and make every game a knockout." Central Coast Mariners coach of competition Graham Arnold recently voiced his disapproval over the change, saying the finals series was "unfair." Arnold said, "You don't get any reward for being one or two." De Bohun is adamant that the grand final "will remain the defining game of the season and that the new format is fairer and does not disadvantage the teams finishing in the top four." De Bohun said, "I think when you look at the way it is set up, the top four teams will get to host at least one final and home ground advantage in the A-League is massive. I've been around the country, and I've seen the different grounds and crowds and home ground advantage is significant" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/19).
Asian Tour CEO Mike Kerr remains optimistic about the golf circuit’s future despite "law suits from members, an unrelenting turf war with OneAsia and the apparent loss of their marquee event," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. Asian Tour Exec Chair Kyi Hla Han kicked off celebrations for the Asian Tour’s 10th season in Singapore last week by outlining its vision for the decade ahead with "some lofty ambitions." Kerr, who worked previously in Asia for sports channel ESPN-Star Sports, targeted Vietnam, Cambodia and Brunei as major markets to "fuel the growth of the Tour," which last year hosted 26 events, not including world golf championship tournaments and majors. Kerr is "expecting 28 tournaments on the Asian Tour for 2013" with co-sanctioned U.S. PGA and European Tour events taking the prize money up to over $50M when the calendar is completed (REUTERS, 2/18).
Explosive allegations "have emerged that the reason for a Brisbane Lions player's absence from some games last decade was falsified to cover-up an illicit drug issue," according to Andrew Hamiltion of the COURIER-MAIL. A former Lions staffer said that "a player missed specific matches in this period because of the illicit drugs issue." It is just one of several allegations to emerge that have prompted the Australian Football League "to open an investigation into behaviours at the club" between '02-09. It follows claims by premiership player Ash McGrath's cousin, Jason McGrath, that "he was involved in match-fixing, illegal gambling and was a drug supplier to six Lions players from that period who were regular users of speed, ecstacy and marijuana" (COURIER-MAIL, 2/19). In Sydney, Dan Koch reported the Lions "have angrily denied claims of rampant drug use and match-fixing by players at the club and are investigating their legal options following allegations made by the relative of veteran defender Ash McGrath." McGrath was reportedly "furious at having his name drawn into the furore, which has engulfed Australian sport, following the sensational accusations" made by Jason McGrath. A confessed drug dealer, Jason McGrath "has claimed to have been directly involved with betting on a fixed game." He also made claims concerning another incident of spot-fixing and said that "he was the beneficiary of regular inside information from team members for the purposes of betting." The club said in a statement, "It is extremely disappointing that this story was published in the absence of any evidence" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/19).
FIFA "has committed to carrying out blood tests for banned drugs at next year’s World Cup and biological profiling for all players at the tournament, which can indicate doping." The commitment comes after a meeting between the World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey and FIFA President Sepp Blatter last week (IRISH EXAMINER, 2/15). ... Indonesia’s elite volleyball competition "has been hampered by difficulties in getting work permits for foreign players, meaning several teams in the BSI Proliga series opener in Jakarta on the weekend were not at full strength" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 2/18). ... Derbyshire County Cricket Club has announced a profit of £23,310 ($36,200) for '12, the newly-promoted county's sixth surplus in seven years. Club CEO Simon Storey said, "After a very challenging summer for English cricket, in which we were competing with both the weather and sporting spectacles such as the London Olympics and Euro 2012, our financial results for the year are very pleasing indeed" (Derbyshire CCC).