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Volume 10 No. 25


BT "will sell its sports channels directly to Sky customers" this summer instead of bundling them via Sky like ESPN -- "potentially making it an expensive addition," according to Alex Lane of RECOMBU. Customers "will be able to choose an HD or standard-definition subscription to the package of at least three BT Sport and ESPN channels, by calling BT direct." There is "no deal confirmed for Virgin Media yet," but if one goes through, BT Sport "will join a TV package because Virgin doesn’t allow direct sales by third-party channels." However, it "could cost Sky Sports subscribers dearly" as Sky will not be able "to combine both packages together in a more attractive bundle as they do with ESPN." BT has promised to make its sports channels "available on YouView and Freeview as well as its own BT Vision service" (RECOMBU, 3/18). The HERALD SCOTLAND reported BT's new sports channel, set to rival Sky sports, "will create more than 400 new jobs across the U.K., including at BT’s Scottish contact centres in Glasgow and Dundee." It "will also safeguard the employment of 187 BT people who are being retrained to work for BT Sport customer support" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 3/19).

The German Football League (DFL), the commercial rights holder of the Bundesliga, "has awarded the audio rights to the Bundesliga for the seasons '13-14 to '16-17 to Sport1 and ARD," according to Manuel Weis of QUOTEN METER. Public broadcaster ARD "has been awarded with the 'Audio Broadcast' and 'Audio Extension' packages." The broadcast package provides ARD with the FM radio rights, while the extension package "gives it access to the mixed zone after games to conduct interviews." Sport1 "received the 'Audio Netcast' package, which provides the sports network with Internet and mobile audio rights" (QUOTEN METER, 3/19).

The Trans Tasman Netball League has "finally netted a modest broadcast deal in Australia, but it will fall well short of the bonanza netball bosses were counting on when the competition was conceived," according to Dana Johannsen of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Less than a week out from the start of the sixth season of the ANZ Championship, Netball Australia is "yet to confirm details of this year's coverage across the Tasman," after former rights holders Channel Ten ditched the competition last season as it did not regard netball to be a "premium and significant sport." Netball Australia has been promising an announcement on a new broadcast deal "is imminent for more than a month," but as of late Monday night nothing had been officially released. It looks as though the league "will retain a free-to-air presence on SBS, showing one live match each weekend," while its broadcast partners Fox Sports will pick up the balance (NZH, 3/19).

UTV Media, the owner of TalkSport and the Northern Ireland TV franchise, saw adjusted pre-tax profits fall by 11% in '12 as a "revenue bonanza during Euro 2012 was wiped out by lean advertising during the London 2012 Olympics," according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. UTV Media reported that "adjusted pre-tax profits fell" to £20.9M ($31.5M), in its full-year results published on Tueday. UTV Media Chair Richard Huntingford said the "positive effect of the Euro 2012 football tournament in the first six months was replaced by a lacklustre performance around the Olympics in the second half of the year." UTV Media was hit by a 39% slump in operating profits at its TV division, down from £6.4M ($9.7M) to £3.9M ($5.9M) year on year. The company said, "The absence of any major sporting event in the first half of 2013 will have a temporary negative effect when compared to the revenue boost from the Euro football tournament in 2012. However, this will be tempered across the year by the inclusion of the Lions Tour of Australia, for which TalkSport has exclusive rights, with a further spike in revenue anticipated from the World Cup in 2014" (GUARDIAN, 3/19).