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Volume 10 No. 25


Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's proposed 16-team summer football tournament for '15 would feature games aired on U.K. pay-TV channel BSkyB, in which 21st Century Fox owns a 39% stake; the conglomerate's Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland; and some of the company's Fox Int'l Channels networks, according to Roxborough & Szalai of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Exclusive rights to such a premium sports event "could also help Murdoch in the U.S., where next month the company is launching new sports network Fox Sports 1." RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank said, "It's great content." But industry observers said that "the potential competition faces a slew of timing and organizational challenges." Sanford C. Bernstein Co. European media analyst Claudio Aspesi said, "The schedule is already crowded, and every second year, European players also have to play either in the World Cup or in the European Cup. The odds that this will prove just an expensive set of 'quasi-friendlies' is high." It "may all come down to how much money 21st Century Fox is willing to pay." Aspesi said, "If [the company] spends enough money, it may matter. The clubs are perennially hungry for more." The idea of creating a football super league of top teams "is nothing new." Murdoch's reported plan, however, "is significantly different than previous super-league proposals in that it the proposed tournament would run during the summer break when national leagues have finished" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 7/1).

Portuguese football side Benfica "has become a pioneer club in the world of audiovisual material upon being the first to, starting next season, exclusively broadcast its games on its own TV channel," according to José Carlos Miranda of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. The previous TV contract expired in Portugal after last season. The Olivedesportos agency pushed to acquire Benfica's broadcast rights, but did not meet the club's demands for a €122M ($159M), five-year deal. With "no other suitors, Benfica will broadcast the club's 15 home games itself." Benfica TV has an agreement with Portuguese multimedia company Zon, which will carry the broadcasts throughout Portugal (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 7/1).

China's leading Internet protocol television (IPTV) provider, Shanghai-based BesTV, announced on Monday that it has acquired the exclusive broadcast rights for the Premier League from '13-18 on "new media" TV in the Chinese mainland, according to Zhang Xiang of CHINA DAILY. The rights "were purchased from Super Sports Media Group which has the exclusive live audio visual broadcast rights for matches" for '10-19 in the Chinese mainland and Macao. BesTV also injected $1.85M into Super Sports Media Group through increments of cash and taking 14% of stock in the company. At the same time, BesTV's subsidiary BesTV Int'l (Cayman) Ltd. will invest $35.15M in BesTV Int'l (Hongkong) Ltd. The investment "will be used to expand the overseas business and consumers." Aside from the football rights, BesTV has "recently extended the partnership with the NBA to continue broadcasting the games on IPTV in the following three years." The company did not "speculate on future Premier League advertising revenue during its announcement, but it is expected to be high considering profits earned from the China Super League’s broadcast," which costs 80,000 yuan ($130,448) for a 15-second commercial on CCTV-5 (CHINA DAILY, 7/1).

German public broadcaster ZDF "recorded top ratings for its broadcast of the Confederations Cup final between Brazil and Spain on Sunday night," according to Sidney Schering of QUOTENMETER. A total of 1.91 million viewers tuned in to watch the game, which started at midnight German time. Brazil's 3-0 victory obtained a 26.2% market share. Ahead of the final, German free-to-air TV channel Sport1 attracted 840,000 viewers to its live broadcast of the Confederations Cup third-place game between Italy and Uruguay. In the target demographic 14-49, Italy's 3-2 victory after penalty kicks was watched by 260,000 viewers. The game obtained an overall market share of 3.5% and a 2.9% share in the target demographic (QUOTENMETER, 1/7).

RECORD SET IN SPAIN: In Spain, the Brazil-Spain match broadcast on Telecinco, which started at midnight local time, drew 10.7 million viewers and a late-night record 70.3% market share. The game's "golden minute" occurred at 12:41am local time, when 13.4 million viewers were tuned in for a market share of 78.7% (EFE, 7/1). AS reported Spanish channel Mediaset was the primetime leader of the Brazil-Spain broadcast with a 18.4% market share (AS, 7/1). MARCA reported the Italy-Uruguay match drew 1.7 million viewers in Spain for a market share of 15.3% (MARCA, 7/1).

TOUR DE FRANCE: DWDL's Alexander Krei reported pan-European broadcaster Eurosport attracted an average of 330,000 viewers to its live coverage of the first stage of the 2013 Tour de France on Saturday. The number translated into a market share of 3%. In the target demographic, the broadcast recorded a 1.6% share. On Sunday, Eurosport's broadcast of the second stage attracted 380,000 viewers and had a 1.7% share in the target demographic (DWDL, 7/1).

Virgin Media "is to launch a new ad" starring Olympic Gold Medalist sprinter Usain Bolt Monday "in a bid to demonstrate how much faster the telecom giant's broadband is than other providers," according to Maisie McCabe of CAMPAIGN LIVE. In the campaign, created by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, "Virgin Media pits Bolt against a slow and inefficient challenger called Blot, representing Virgin Media’s fibre-optic broadband network and other providers’ DSL-based services respectively." One TV ad "will show Bolt and Blot racing with a movie reel in their hands to represent viewers waiting for a film to download." After Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson "starts the race with a gun, Bolt gets to the finish line long before Blot." Branson also stars in the second ad, which shows Bolt and Blot "powerlifting a bar that represents people using the internet on their laptops, tablets and smartphones." Once again Bolt wins, Branson "gives him a thumbs up and the sprinter relaxes" (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 7/1).

Vodafone and EE "became embroiled in a war of words at the British Grand Prix over the weekend, after fellow mobile operator EE demanded Vodafone remove what it claims was an ad promoting 'Ultrafast 4G' from the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes cars," according to Alex Brownsell of MARKETING MAGAZINE. A Vodafone spokesperson said that the company was contacted on Friday by EE Chief of Brand & Communications Steven Day, who demanded that the company "garage" McLaren’s F1 drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez and remove the "Ultrafast 4G" branding. The spokesperson said, "This is sponsorship, not advertising. We’re using the car to build further awareness of our forthcoming Ultrafast 4G service. It’s a ‘static promotion,' albeit on a car that can travel at over 200mph" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 7/1).

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF said that they "likely will not return to broadcast the Tour de France after 2015, when the Tour's current TV contracts expire." Asked what will happen after '15, ARD Sports Dir Axel Balkausky said, "Probably nothing. We are currently not asking ourselves this question." And ZDF Sports Dir Dieter Gruschwitz thinks it is "difficult to imagine" that we will change our current position. He said, "I don't know if and when cycling will ever again regain its credibility." Pan-European channel Eurosport on the other hand "will broadcast 280 hours of this year's Tour de France" (DWDL, 7/1). ... German pay-TV channel Sky Sport News HD "will again have a daily football transfer news show called 'Transfer Report' in its program ahead of the start of the new Bundesliga season." Starting immediately until Sept. 2, the 30-minute show "will air Monday through Friday at 6pm German time" (DWDL, 7/1). ... A European Tour golf ad pits Rory McIlroy "against a wise-cracking golf-ball-hitting robot named Jeff in a contest to see who can chip the most balls into washing machines on a driving range." The video "has gone viral," with almost 2 million views in four days (ADWEEK, 7/1). ... The European Handball Federation's marketing arm, Marketing GmbH, has signed a long-term deal with MP & Silva to market the media rights for Europe's top club handball competitions. The seven-year contract includes the sale of media rights on all platforms worldwide for the VELUX EHF Champions League, Women's EHF Champions League and Men's EHF Cup as well as the finals of other club competitions including the Women's EHF Cup, Women's Cup Winners' Cup and Men's and Women's Challenge Cup. The deal also includes the worldwide streaming rights for betting companies (EHF).