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Volume 6 No. 212


Three people familiar with the situation said that BSkyB is in talks about "becoming a partner in a new cycling championship involving most of the teams that compete in the Tour de France," according to Duff & Panja of BLOOMBERG. The U.K.'s biggest pay-TV provider "wants to increase its bet on cycling" after bankrolling Team Sky and rider Bradley Wiggins, who, last year, became the first Brit to win the Tour. News Corp., which owns 40% of BSkyB, "is interested in broadcasting the series outside the U.K." The proposed World Series Cycling is gathering pace since ruling body International Cycling Union (UCI), which has opposed it, "has been weakened" by fallout from Lance Armstrong’s doping confession. A BSkyB executive and attorney held a meeting in Geneva with 12 teams on Feb. 13, and another meeting  is scheduled for Friday in Paris, two of the people said. IHS Screen Digest media consultant Tim Westcott said, "It’s an opportunistic move: it’s probably a time when people are in favor of a breakaway” championship. BSkyB spokeswoman Alice Macandrew did not immediately return a call and e-mail seeking comment. The objections of UCI President Pat McQuaid had "slowed the project to a virtual standstill last year," but with teams now less fearful of retribution from the UCI, the number of teams that agreed to race in the series has risen to 12 from eight (BLOOMBERG, 2/28).

The European Broadcasting Union, operating Eurovision, and the Int'l Paralympic Committee have secured the media rights on all platforms for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Summer Games and various other para-sport events. Under the new terms, the EBU will exploit the media rights for all EBU territories, excluding Russia for Sochi 2014 and the U.K. for both Paralympic Games. Already 27 EBU members have committed to showing the Rio 2016 Paralympics -- an unprecedented number so far in advance of any Games. Furthermore, Eurovision will provide the IPC with extra services, such as production, distribution and onsite activities, to enhance the coverage of IPC Championships and test events (IPC)

The desire "to produce a quick documentary on Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius and the shooting death of his live-in girlfriend has led to a new partnership between two television networks," according to the AP. The Investigation Discovery Network on Sunday will premiere a special, "Beauty & The Blade Runner," about the South African athlete and his role in the shooting death of model Reeva Steenkamp. ID "is making the special with the help of NBC News and that company's Peacock Productions" (AP, 2/27). C21 MEDIA's Clive Whittingham reported ID now plans to air Beauty & the Blade Runner from Peacock on Sunday at 8pm (ET/PT). The film "examines the incident and the legal proceedings so far, including interviews from experts and the couple’s family and friends." The documentary "is the first under a new partnership between the companies to produce quick-turnaround docs on developing news stories." The executive producers are Liz Fischer and Pamela Deutsch (C21 MEDIA, 2/28).

German public broadcaster ARD "has recorded Wednesday's top rating" with its broadcast of the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) matchup between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, according to Sidney Schering of QUOTEN METER. A total of 11.45 million viewers tuned in to watch Wednesday's quarterfinal match. The number equaled a fantastic 34.4% market share. In the target demographic 14-49, the game was watched by 4.27 million viewers. Bayern's 1-0 victory received a strong 32.3% market share. Following the game, ARD showed a summary of Wednesday's second DFB-Pokal matchup between VfB Stuttgart and VfL Bochum. The broadcast of Stuttgart's 2-0 victory recorded a market share of 27.1% and 22.8% in the target demographic. In addition, German pay-TV Sky attracted 530,000 viewers or a 1.6% share. In the target demographic, Sky's broadcast was watched by 270,000 viewers and had a 2% market share (QUOTEN METER, 2/28).

SPAIN: VERTELE reported Telecinco's broadcast of the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) return leg between Sevilla and Atletico Madrid was watched by 4.721 million and a 23.1% market share. The "golden minute" occurred at 10:42pm local time when 5.872 million viewers were tuned in and a 27.3% share. The game ended in a 2-2 draw with Atletico going through to the final on aggregate. (VERTELE, 2/28).

FRANCE: OZAP reported France 3's broadcast of the round of 16 Coupe de France (French Cup) encounter between Paris St. Germain and Marseille was watched by 5.5 million and a 22% share. PSG won the match 2-0 (OZAP, 2/28).

The Premier League awarded exclusive audio visual broadcast rights for all 380 EPL matches to Benfica TV for the '13-14 to '15-16 seasons in Portugal (Premier League). ... The Int'l Cricket Council announced live streaming of 16 matches from the remaining three rounds of the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Championship '11-13, commencing with the fifth-round fixtures that kick off in the UAE on Wednesday. This is the first time multiple WCL Championship matches will be broadcast to a global audience (ICC).