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Volume 10 No. 23


The BBC "faced mounting pressure on Sunday to take action against one its most high-profile sports presenters for criticising the appearance of France's Marion Bartoli," who won this year's Wimbledon women's singles title, according to Belinda Goldsmith of REUTERS. Presenter John Inverdale "incensed radio listeners" before Bartoli beat German Sabine Lisicki when he asked if people thought her father told her when little she was never going to be "a looker" like Maria Sharapova so she would have to fight harder for success. The BBC, Britain's publicly funded broadcaster, "apologised for the comments" after a storm of protests on Twitter, admitting the remark was "insensitive." Inverdale said on Sunday he had "written to apologise to Bartoli," and told listeners ahead of Sunday' men's final that he used "a clumsy phrase" about Bartoli in trying to make a point that not all players need to be "6 ft fall Amazonian athletes." A BBC spokesperson, however, said that the corporation "had apologised and so had Inverdale and that there were no plans for further action to be taken" (REUTERS, 7/7).

BARTOLI NOT BOTHERED: The HERALD SCOTLAND reported Bartoli said that "she would not let comments about her appearance from a senior BBC presenter spoil the greatest day of her life." Bartoli said, "It doesn't matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I'm sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes." Inverdale told his listeners he poked fun at the player's looks "in a nice way." He added, "She is an incredible role model for people who aren't born with all the attributes of natural athletes" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 7/7). In London, Esther Addley reported in remarks to French journalists, Bartoli added that "she wanted the BBC man to come and see her at the traditional end-of-Wimbledon ball in London." Bartoli said, "Good, I invite this journalist to come and see me this evening in ball gown and heels, and in my opinion he could change his mind" (GUARDIAN, 7/7).

The host broadcaster contract for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has been awarded to int'l TV sports broadcast company Sunset+Vine and Global Television. The winning bid brings together two independent TV production companies that, in their first joint venture as SVGTV, could potentially attract a world-wide audience of more than 1 billion people. In addition, the appointment of SVGTV as the Games' host broadcaster will bring a boost to Scotland's creative sector, creating up to 1,000 jobs. SVGTV revealed a new collaboration with universities and colleges which will create an education and training program offering live broadcast, creative and technology skills (Glasgow 2014).

ABU JOINS IN: The SCOTSMAN reported the Glasgow Games secured "another broadcast holder." The Asia Broadcasting Union "will deliver free coverage" of the event to the Commonwealth nations of Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius. Other non-Commonwealth territories such as Hong Kong, Iran, North Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Uzbekistan "will also be able to view" the event. Glasgow 2014 "has already secured broadcasting rights for the Indian subcontinent with TAJ Television and Sub-Saharan African rights with SuperSport" (SCOTSMAN, 7/5).

German pay-TV network Sky "recorded top ratings for its broadcast of the Wimbledon women's singles final on Saturday afternoon," according to David Grzeschik of QUOTENMETER. The match between Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki, which started at 3pm German time, attracted 590,000 viewers. The number translated into a market share of 6.3%. In the target demographic 14-49, Bartoli's straight-sets victory was watched by 300,000 viewers and obtained "an impressive" 8.4% share. On Thursday, Sky also attracted 230,000 viewers to its broadcast of the semifinal match between Lisicki and Agnieszka Radwanska. The match had a market share of 2.3% (QUOTENMETER, 7/7).

WIMBLEDON ON BBC: In London, Owen Gibson reported Andy Murray's Wimbledon semifinal victory against Poland's Jerzy Janowicz "was the most watched TV moment of the year, peaking at 13.2 million viewers." BBC execs "are hopeful the final against Novak Djokovic will top the 16.9 million who tuned in and saw Murray lose to Roger Federer in last year's final." The BBC "has enjoyed a degree of luck in the scheduling of Murray's matches this year." First his five-set quarterfinal comeback against Fernando Verdasco "ran into prime time, with the audience peaking at 10.4 million." Then Juan Martín del Potro's five-set epic with Djokovic caused Murray's semifinal "to start later than expected and pushed it deep into the evening, boosting the audience" (GUARDIAN, 7/6).

SPORTS ON SAT.1: German free-to-air TV channel Sat.1 received high ratings with for its live broadcast of the game between Borussia Dortmund and Oliver Pocher's Sat.1 Allstars. In the target demographic, the first half of the game obtained a 18.6% market share, while the second half had a 17% share. Borussia Dortmund won the game, which was played in front of 49,500 at the Signal Iduna Park, 9-1. Following the game, Sat.1 recorded a strong 15.1% market share in the target demographic with its broadcast of the middleweight boxing fight between Felix Sturm and Predrag Radosevic. Sturm won the fight in the fourth round by KO (Sat.1).

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF "want to show again live pictures from Wimbledon," according to the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG. ARD Sports Dir Axel Balkausky said, "After the experiences of the last several days, we will, starting Monday, intensively work on acquiring live Wimbledon rights from 2014." The reason for this decision seems to be "Germany's newfound tennis excitement and Sabine Lisicki's Wimbledon final appearance." The public broadcasters together with their portfolio of channels "reportedly plan to show important, individiual games." This year, pay-TV network Sky "held the exclusive broadcast rights for the tournament." The network's contract "is set to expire, but Sky wants to extend its deal." Former German tennis player Boris Becker said, "Now we have again a great player, and we are unable to see her. This means it doesn't depend on performance anymore but on the overall concept of the public broadcasters" (FAZ, 7/7). ARD was trying to acquire a sublicense to show Saturday's Wimbledon women's final on free-to-air TV. However, the negotiations failed due to Sky's high price demands. On Friday, Balkausky said, "We have worked intensively until this afternoon to acquire the free-TV rights for the Wimbledon women's final for millions of interested viewers. Unfortunately, the negotiations have failed due to Sky's excessive price expectations." The pay-TV network reportedly wanted €1.5M ($1.9M) from ARD for a sublicense to the women's final. In comparison, Sky pays a reported €700,000 ($898,000) per year for the tournament's rights (SPONSORs).

New Zealand's Sky TV secured the rights to next year's FIFA World Cup. The pay-TV network has locked up the major prize of world football, "the second-most watchted sporting event in the world." Sky will "broadcast the World Cup alongside TVNZ, as a free-to-air partner, for the fourth tournament in a row" (APNZ, 7/5). ... German public broadcaster ZDF will offer live TV broadcasts and extensive online coverage from the UEFA Women's Euro 2013 in Sweden, which will start on Wednesday and runs through July 28. The ZDF will accompany the German national team in its mission to defend its Euro title. On Thurday, ZDF will live broadcast the German team's opening match against the Netherlands. The broadcast will start at 8:45pm (ZDF). ... BBC 3D Head Kim Shillinglaw has announced that production of all 3D TV content will halt after the November "airing of the 50th anniversary episode of 'Doctor Who.'" Shillinglaw said that the BBC "will take a three year break from producing 3D television shows in order to see if the technology gains greater acceptance among the U.K. viewing public" (DIGITAL TRENDS, 7/5).