ManU player Rio Ferdinand, whose contract expires at the end of the season, "has been offered the opportunity to become BT Sport’s main football pundit," according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. The TV network "wants a marquee football name" as its leading analyst after paying £738M ($1.1B) for the rights to 38 Premier League games in each of the next three seasons. Ferdinand "would be their first choice if he decides to retire." Ferdinand, who is "heavily involved in a number of his own media projects, is understood to have other broadcasting offers, too." However, it "would be a surprise if he hangs up his boots so soon to start a TV career." Meanwhile, League Two Accrington Stanley player James Beattie "impressed in pundit screen-tests for BT, though they will want a bigger name for their top-flight coverage" (DAILY MAIL, 2/18).
Outgoing TVN CEO Peter Sweeney "will front his board on Wednesday to explain the deal with Channel Seven that is costing the racing aggregator" A$2.2M ($2.3M) a year, while the free-to-air broadcaster pockets more than A$8M, according to Roots & Bartley of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Insiders have called it "the best sporting deal done by Channel Seven as the majority of production costs are covered by TVN." It "gets a clean feed of vision," and has been able to sign Australian bookmaker Tom Waterhouse to a A$5.5M advertising agreement. Waterhouse outbid entertainment and gaming firm Tabcorp "for the advertising rights to the coverage." Tabcorp "had a final-offer clause but would only go" to A$3M. The fact TVN pays Seven A$2.2M for the airtime for 27 meetings and does not share in any revenue "has TVN board members fuming." Sweeney "will be asked to explain the benefit of the Seven deal to TVN's bottom line and why there is not some revenue sharing written into the deal" (SMH, 2/19).
BBC Deputy Controller Jonathan Wall has been named BBC Radio 5 live controller, a role he has described as the "best job in radio." Wall, who has worked at the station for 15 years, succeeds Adrian Van Klaveren, who is now "in charge of the 100th anniversary coverage of World War I" (BBC, 2/19). ... Defending Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund "has become the second German football club to break the 2 million-follower barrier on Facebook." In comparison to other int'l football clubs, Dortmund ranks at No. 15. The club with the most Facebook followers in the Bundesliga "is record champion Bayern Munich with about 6 million" (SID, 2/18). ... Sports marketing agency SPORTFIVE Int'l extended its cooperation with the French Tennis Federation for the sales of media rights to the French Open. The agreement will continue to cover media rights in territories in Asia through to '17 (SPORTFIVE). ... Sky Italia will launch a high-definition channel for its F1 coverage joining its British counterparts. The platform has now launched Sky Sport F1 HD, which will broadcast 10 of the season's races exclusively live, with the other nine shared with free TV -- although a free-to-air broadcast deal has yet to be agreed (Sky Italia).