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Volume 6 No. 212


Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has opened up on its organization's "relationship with Channel Nine," according to Chloe Saltau of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. As CA, armed with a lucrative offer from Channel Ten, "thrashes out" a new media-rights deal, Sutherland "denied the governing body's relationship with Nine, its broadcast partner of 36 years, had soured in recent months." In particular, he rejected the suggestion that "Nine's disdain for the rotation policy had affected negotiations." It has been reported that "a prominent Nine commentator stormed out of a briefing on selection policies by Team Performance Manager Pat Howard." CA was extremely sensitive to criticism on the issue. Sutherland said, ''Like any summer, we have robust discussions with our partners, whether they're sponsors or media partners, about our issues. I've had conversations with [Nine boss] David Gyngell during the season, and in recent days and weeks, and there's nothing wrong with our relationship. We're trying to sell our media rights for the next five years and Nine are obviously the incumbent partner with a right to match anything we put forward as far as free-to-air TV is concerned." Nine "has four weeks to decide whether to match Ten's offer," reportedly A$500M ($494M) over five years, and in the meantime faces a CA lawsuit to test whether the Big Bash League should be included in the network's ''last rights" (SMH, 5/16).

Swiss broadcaster SRF "has apologised for adding fake crowd noise" to try to liven up its coverage of Sunday's Zurich derby, which "kicked off in a near-deserted stadium," according to REUTERS. Viewers of the edited highlights "were baffled to hear chanting" at the start of the Grasshoppers vs. FC Zurich game even though pictures showed that few spectators were present in the Letzigrund stadium for kickoff "due to a protest by fans." SRF said, "In order to make the report as attractive as possible, the chants of the fans were subsequently edited into highlights of the game. The decision was taken under great time pressure. It was wrong, we apologise for it" (GUARDIAN, 5/15).

Longtime BBC football pundit Alan Hansen "is expected to exit 'Match of the Day' at the end of next season," according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Hansen "has one year remaining on his BBC contract and there seems no great wish on either side to renew a contract that expires after the World Cup." BBC is "likely to give the Match of the Day show a much-needed shake-up after the departure of Hansen, who has been the main analyst on the programme for so long." Hansen, who was earning a staggering £1.5M ($2.3M) a year, "had to take a considerable pay cut when he signed his current two-year deal" -- eased by BBC's move from London to Salford, much closer to his Southport home (DAILY MAIL, 5/14). In London, Jack Pitt-Brooke reported Saturday night football "has always been picked apart by Hansen, as he reclines on his sofa, waits for the mistakes and then dissects them with merciless disdain." But "it was a fairly inflexible art and there has been a growing sense that the old Match of the Day way is now so set and so comfortable in its routine that it is vulnerable to new ideas." And so it "has proved with Gary Neville on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports, far less laconic than Hansen but far more engaging and enthusiastic" (INDEPENDENT, 5/15).

German free-to-air TV channel Sport1 "recorded above average ratings for its broadcast of Germany's last preliminary round game against France" at the 2013 IIHF World Championship on Tuesday, according to Fabian Riedner of QUOTENMETER. A total of 440,000 viewers tuned in at 3:15pm German time to watch the hockey game. The number translated into a 4.2% market share. In the target demographic 14-49, Germany's 3-2 overtime victory attracted 130,000 viewers and had a 3.7% share. Despite the victory, Germany "did not advance to the quarterfinals" (QUOTENMETER, 5/15).

UEFA U17 EURO: QUOTENMETER's Riedner also reported pan-European broadcaster Eurosport "has received low ratings for its broadcast of the UEFA U17 European championship game between Slovakia and Italy." The game attracted 20,000 viewers and obtained a 0.2% market share. In the target demographic, Italy's 2-0 victory reached a 0.1% share (QUOTENMETER, 5/15).