Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's latest acquisitive foray "is meeting resistance" after touching a national passion: football, according to the AP. Slim recently bought part of two of Mexico's first division football teams, setting up another showdown with TV giants Televisa and TV Azteca -- major players in the football field that are in turn "trying to push their way" into Slim's telecom and Internet markets. The owners of the 18 Mexican first division clubs are scheduled to meet Monday to decide whether one person or one company can own more than one first-division football team, and many see Slim as the target. Each team has one vote in decisions by the Mexican Football Federation, "so purchasing more teams would give Slim more power in the federation." Slim ventured into football in September, when he bought 30% of the shares of football clubs Leon and Pachuca. Following the acquisitions, "team owners in February decided to discuss the issue of multi-ownership." The decision raised some eyebrows since TV Azteca currently owns two teams "and Televisa once owned three first division teams." Pachuca Owner Jesus Martinez said that "he was shocked that the subject of multi-ownership has come up" since Slim ventured into football. Martinez: "It's laughable because that (multi-ownership) has been going on for more than 25 years." Slim's foray into the world of football "is also threatening the two TV networks in an area they hold dear: broadcast rights to games." Slim's America Movil is a leading provider of cable and satellite TV in Latin America, but he has not been able to launch a network of his own in Mexico, "something that could change after a recent approval of a reform that allows for more competition in the telecommunications sector." Telecom analyst Gabriel Sosa Plata said, "Soccer is important for non-paid television because it is part of Mexico's most watched programming and for Televisa and TV Azteca it was an area they completely dominated. Slim's entry into soccer is reorganizing the field and giving a new perspective to a business that seemed stagnant" (AP, 5/19).
ESPN will always be "The Little Channel That Could" in England even as it "prepares to pack its bags and head home after four years of poking around looking eager," according to Jonathan Liew of the London TELEGRAPH. This "may seem odd given the scale and global reach of the ESPN megalith." However, "wedged between the rock of Sky Sports and the hard place of parent company Walt Disney," which gave up on its loss-making progeny long ago, the British incarnation of ESPN "somehow managed to cast itself in the role of the ballsy insurgent." That it ultimately failed to topple Sky "does not make it a failure per se, when you consider what happened to its predecessors." Setanta "went into administration with nine-figure debts." ITV Digital "went bust and almost took the entire Football League with it." So, "a quiet, dignified exit," with BT Sport taking on ESPN’s remaining contracts and its TV channel, "might actually be a small success." What "will its legacy be?" The most abiding memory of ESPN "will not be its coverage of the Premier League or the Bundesliga or the NBA." It will, instead, be ESPN Classic, a "glorious, sequestered gem of a channel whose primary function was to ensure that whatever time you switched your television on, there would always be something to watch" (TELEGRAPH, 5/20).
The proposed de-merger of the National Basketball League from under Basketball Australia's umbrella "has hit a major sticking point over free-to-air television rights with Network 10," according to Boti Nagy of THE ADVERTISER. The deal Ten has with BA to televise NBL games extends for a further two seasons, but it is a contract between the network and the basketball federation -- "not the soon-to-be controlling entity of the national league." It means the new NBL either needs to enter a new agreement with Ten, or "Ten has to agree to a changeover of the contract" (THE ADVERTISER, 5/20).
German free-to-air TV channel Sport1 "has recorded above average ratings for its broadcast of the 2013 IIHF World Championship final between Sweden and Switzerland," according to David Grzeschik of QUOTENMETER. A total of 530,000 viewers tuned in to watch the final. The game, which started at 8:25pm German time, had a 1.8% market share. In comparison, the channel's average share is currently at around 0.8%. In the target demographic 14-49, Sweden's 5-1 victory attracted 230,000 viewers and reached a 2% market share (QUOTENMETER, 5/20).
MOTOGP: DWDL's Alexander Krei reported Sport1 "received high ratings for its broadcast of Sunday's MotoGP race from Le Mans, France." The race attracted 350,000 viewers, which equaled a "very good market share" of 3.1%. In the target demographic, Sport1's coverage of Dani Pedrosa's victory obtained a 1.5% share (DWDL, 5/20).
DTM: DWDL's Krei also reported German public broadcaster ARD "recorded below average ratings for its broadcast of Sunday's German Touring Car Championship (DTM) race." The second race of the season from Brands Hatch, England was watched by 1.03 million viewers and reached a market share of only 8.9%. In the target demographic, the victory of Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller had a 5.5% share (DWDL, 5/20).
WOMEN'S CUP FINAL: DWDL's Krei also reported ARD "obtained succesful ratings for its broadcast of Sunday's women's DFB-Pokal (German Cup) final." The game between VfL Wolfburg and FFC Turbine Potsdam attracted 1.9 million viewers and reached a 13.4% market share. In the target demographic, Wolfsburg's victory received a 7% share (DWDL, 5/20).
Sky Media Network, the commercial arm of German pay-TV channel Sky, "has drawn a positive balance for the concluded Bundesliga season," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. During the '12-13 season, the company increased its revenue by 37.4% in comparison to the previous season. Sky Media Network "was able to acquire 88 new customers." The commercial slots surrounding Sky's live Bundesliga broadcasts "were filled to 80% on average." Sky Media Network Managing Dir Martin Michel said, "The most attractive live surrounding on German TV still has a lot of unused potential. The demand for the next season is already enormous and our customers can look forward to new, even more attractive advertising posibilites" (DWDL, 5/20).
German free-to-air TV channel Sport1 "will live broadcast the first practice of new Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola on June 26." The channel plans to broadcast live for five hours between 11am-4pm German time (DWDL, 5/20). ... German pay-TV channel Motorvision TV "has acquired additional motorsports rights and started airing, since mid-May, the current FIA European Truck Racing Championship, Ferrari Challenge Europe, highlights from this year's Nürburgring 24 hours race, selected German Touring Car Championship (DTM) from the past several years and complete races of the Superstars International Series" (DWDL, 5/20). ... BSkyB has paid the The Sun to produce a mini-documentary about British super-middleweight champion Carl Froch, "as part of the broadcaster's promotion ahead of Froch's next bout" on Saturday (MEDIA WEEK, 5/20).