TV Blackout Avoided As ITV Strikes New Deal For Rights To England World Cup Qualifier
England fans will be able to watch Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier against Montenegro after ITV "struck a deal that ends the uncertainty over its coverage of the match," according to O'Connor & Munnery of the LONDON TIMES. ITV, which has the rights to all England games until '14, had "found itself caught in the middle of a dispute between the Montenegro FA and Kentaro, the agency that sold the rights to the match" (LONDON TIMES, 3/21). In London, Owen Gibson reported ITV's live coverage "had been in the balance" because Kentaro "had its contract annulled and the rights are instead being handled by a rival agency." ITV had already paid an upfront fee for the rights, estimated at between £500,000 ($759,000) and £750,000 ($1.1M) and "was then faced with having to negotiate a new agreement with SportFive." Kentaro still counts the Montenegrins among its clients on its website, claiming it is "proud" to support the Montenegro FA "and their famous president Dejan Savicevic" (GUARDIAN, 3/21). Also in London, Ben Rumsby reported ITV was also chasing Kentaro for the return of between £500,000 and £750,000 the broadcaster handed the agency up front in order to secure the rights. The precise value of the deal or the new contract agreed with SportFive was unknown (TELEGRAPH, 3/21).