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Volume 10 No. 25


Spain Secretary for Sport Miguel Cardenal said that a new Spanish sports law "will include an obligation for football clubs to negotiate the sale of television rights collectively as in other major European leagues," according to Iain Rogers of REUTERS. The legislation, to be presented toward the end of this year, "would do away with the practice of clubs signing deals with broadcasters individually." Under the current system, Real Madrid and Barcelona "split around half of the total pot" of €650M ($848M) for La Liga rights between them. Their domestic rivals, many who "are in dire financial straits, are left to fight over the scraps." Cardenal said, "It's an extremely important issue because it's the main source of funding (for the clubs). The idea is that the new law will regulate the collective sale (of TV rights) and that they will be sold in a single package." Analysts "have long argued that Spain needs to adopt a system of collective bargaining and income sharing," or else more of its professional clubs will fall into administration. Cardenal said that "it would be up to the clubs themselves to decide how the money is shared out." However, he added "it would be natural to expect the gap between those who get the most and those who get the least to narrow" (REUTERS, 4/18).

Sky Sports has announced David Beckham as its new ambassador, which will see the footballer encourage grassroots sport and participation across the U.K. Beckham will also be featured in advertisements to promote Sky Sports. Beckham teams up with Sky sporting icons such as Olympic Gold Medal heptathlete Jessica Ennis, British Cycling Performance Dir David Brailsford and Gold Medal cyclist Bradley Wiggins (Sky). In London, Adam Shergold reported Sky has "struck back" following BT Sport's hiring of EPL Tottenham and Wales midfielder Gareth Bale as a guest pundit. The move "follows BT Sport's acquisition" of Bale as an occasional pundit for its 38 live Premier League games next season (DAILY MAIL, 4/18).

The FIA Formula E Championship has appointed int'l media rights company MP & Silva to act as its exclusive partners in devising and implementing its media and broadcasting strategy. The partnership forms part of a long-term commitment from both parties that will ensure a launch for its new city-center electric racing FIA championship commencing in '14. The main focus will center on the distribution of the championship's TV rights both in terms of premium content and wider coverage. Over the coming 12 months, MP & Silva and Formula E will engage in a series of activities to instigate and promote the green benefits of the electric car racing to broadcasters and the media industry (Formula E).

Spanish communications group Mediaset España has reached a broadcasting agreement with FIBA for the EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia, the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain and the EuroBasket 2015 in Ukraine, according to the AS. Viewers "will be able to follow these major international tournaments on television on the Mediaset Sports channels and on the online platform" Mediaset España Dir of Rights Acquisition Ghislain Barrois said, "Mediaset Sport is excited about bringing these great basketball tournaments into the Spanish homes. Basketball is a sport with a large following and a great future potential in Spain. This is the first time that Mediaset España includes national team basketball in its Sports offer and we are proud of doing it now, when the national team is at its best." FIBA Secretary General & IOC member Patrick Baumann endorsed the partnership. "It is a great pleasure for us to announce this signed agreement with Mediaset España -- a leading broadcaster in Spain -- especially in view of the fact that the first-ever FIBA Basketball World Cup will be played in Spain in 2014" (AS, 4/18).

When Star India paid the Board of Control for Cricket in India $770M last year for int'l cricket media rights for domesitc matches, it showed that it was becoming "unusually aggressive in chasing the sports business," according to Vanita Kohli-Khandekar of the BUSINESS STANDARD. The deal covered 96 matches between '12 and '18. Around the same time, its parent, News Corporation, "bought out ESPN's share in a pan-Asian joint venture ESPN-Star Sports" (now Fox Star Sports Asia) for $220M. Once the buyout is operational, Star India "will own the rights" to almost all Indian cricket in addition to EPL, F1 and Wimbledon, among others. One part of it is "a larger News Corporation design." Sports "has been a focus area" ever since Deputy Chair Chase Carey took over after serving as president and COO of Rupert Murdoch's $33.7B media empire in '09. The idea is "to take on" ESPN's "30-year-old hegemony over the market" in the U.S. News Corp. believes that sports can be the "locomotive" to get better revenues from its dominating pay TV platforms. That "is the thinking" in India, too. However, more than 90% of the Rs 4,000 crore ($741M) that TV makes on sports, "goes to cricket." Dish TV CEO R.C. Venkateish said, "India is not a sports market, India is a cricket market." GroupM National Dir Vinit Karnik said, "We follow Indian cricket only, in India, and when India is winning." The second catch: According to analysis by Media Partners Asia, while ESPN "had a fat topline" at Rs 1,875 crore in '12, "it was not profitable." The merger and its entry into sports "could pull down Star's healthy" 30% operating margins (BUSINESS STANDARD, 4/18).

German public broadcaster ARD "has recorded high ratings with its broadcast of the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) semifinal match between VfB Stuttgart and SC Freiburg," according to Kevin Kyburz of QUOTENMETER. An average of 7.03 million viewers tuned in to watch Stuttgart's 2-1 victory on Wednesday night. The game, which started at 8:30pm German time, obtained a 23.7% market share. In the target demographic 14-49, ARD's broadcast attracted 2.08 million viewers, which equaled a 18.1% share (QUOTENMETER, 4/18).