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Volume 6 No. 213


BT Sport's first live Premier League broadcast, Liverpool's 1-0 win against Stoke, averaged more than 400,000 viewers on Saturday -- "less than a quarter of the audience for Sky Sports' Swansea v Manchester United coverage," according to Jason Deans of the London GUARDIAN. This was BT Sport's "only programme to trouble the pay-TV ratings top 20 on Saturday or Sunday." Sky, however, "showed the greater depth of its live rights portfolio and larger subscription base with numerous top 20 placings on both days," including coverage of Europe's women golfers securing their first Solheim Cup win in the U.S. Liverpool vs. Stoke averaged 447,000 viewers and a 5.1% audience share between 11:30am and 3pm local time on Saturday, with a five-minute peak of 764,000. This was more than 1,000% up "on the fledgling channel's average share in the slot and the fifth most popular show on pay-TV on Saturday" -- the top four were all on Sky Sports. The top rating pay-TV program on Saturday and Sky Sports' best performer over the weekend was live coverage of ManU's 4-1 win at Swansea, "which averaged more than 2 million simulcast across Sky Sports 1, pay-TV entertainment channel Sky 2 and free-to-air entertainment service Pick TV" (GUARDIAN, 8/19). In L.A., Stuart Kemp reported BT Sport CEO Simon Green noted in a statement the figures from audience research company BARB "don't tell the whole story" as the telecom giant has "hundreds of thousands of customers who can watch via platforms that BARB doesn't capture" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/19).

VIRGIN BOOST: In London, Daniel Thomas reported almost half of the households that watched BT’s Premier League debut "used the rival cable TV platform owned by Virgin Media." They "did so under a wholesale agreement struck late last week between BT and Virgin Media." The latest figures also mean that only about one in four of the potential audience of 1 million homes "either paid for BT broadband or BT Sport to watch the former national monopoly’s first game." In terms of total audience, BT attracted 629,000 viewers, of which 43% were Virgin customers. Analysts said that the numbers "were respectable given the newness of BT’s platform and the fact that only slightly more viewers watched an equivalent game shown by Sky last season" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/19).

COMING TO AMERICA: NBC earned a 0.8 overnight for its debut Premier League match on Saturday afternoon, which featured ManU-Swansea City. Washington, D.C. topped all U.S. markets with a 2.2 local rating. NBCSN on Saturday aired two games (Liverpool-Stoke City and Arsenal-Aston Villa) and the three-game average for NBC Sports Group was a 0.5 overnight. ManU-Swansea City also marked the best overnight in U.S. history for an EPL opening weekend match (Austin Karp, The Daily). In D.C., Steven Goff wrote "one thing is certain," and that is the EPL, "regarded as one of the most popular global sports brands, has never had an American stage like this before." NBC is "promoting Premier League coverage as if it's the NFL." Among NBC's challenges is "introducing the league to casual viewers without insulting sophisticated fans" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/17). In Philadelphia, Jonathan Tannenwald spent Saturday morning at NBC Sports' HQs to watch the production and wrote, "I came away quite impressed, as so many television viewers did." There are "certain sporting events you can broadcast with a half-measure, but NBC was committed to not doing so for this." (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/18).

Digital sports media group Perform's sports division Goal's new data indicates that "football fans are increasingly using mobile devices to engage with video content, news sites and betting services," according to Arif Durrani of MEDIA WEEK. Football fans in Great Britain "are found to spend an average of 2 hours per week" watching sport content via an Internet-enabled mobile device, and 1.6 hours per week "reading sports related content on a smartphone or tablet." As a "growing number of football stadiums get Wi-Fi connected, Goal’s data (taken from the Global Sports Media Consumption Report 2013, produced in conjunction with Kantar Media Sport and TV Sports Markets) shows that 27% of football fans in Great Britain follow the sport on a mobile device" and that of those who attend live matches, 39% of them use a mobile "in the build up to, during or after a game." The types of content accessed by football fans on mobiles "includes reading team news, watching video previews or commenting on a match via social networks." Some 40% follow live scores or text commentary of other events via a website or app. Goal also revealed that "23% of football fans who use a mobile on match day do so to place a bet via a website or app" (MEDIA WEEK, 8/16).

The Olympic Council of Asia and MP & Silva announced plans to internalize the media production of all Asian Games competitions and all other OCA events. A new OCA Broadcasting Services company will be established in the mold of Olympic Broadcasting Services. The next steps of this project include a joint OCA/MP & Silva production tender to be released by the end of the week to identify production companies with the right set of technical expertise (MP & Silva).

Swedish media company Modern Times Group announced that it has prolonged the exclusive TV broadcasting rights to England's Premier League in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on all platforms from the start of the '13-14 season until the end of the '15-16 season. The rights include exclusive coverage of all 38 rounds of the EPL. Approximately 100 matches will be broadcast with local commentary on the premium pay-TV sports channel Viasat Sport Baltic. MTG will also get access to additional programs featuring highlights, profiles and analysis. MTG has broadcast the Premier League in the Baltics since the start of the '10-11 season. The rights have been acquired from Saran Holding, a leading Turkish business conglomerate, which is active in a broad range of sectors including media and sports (MTG).

German public broadcaster ARD "has recorded high ratings for its broadcast of the final day of the 2013 IAAF World Championships," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. A total of 3.11 million tuned in on Sunday afternoon to watch the live broadcast. The number translated into a market share of 20.9%. In the target demographic 14-49, ARD's broadcast obtained a 13.5% share. Pan-European broadcaster Eurosport also received "convincing" ratings for its world championships coverage. The channel attracted 520,000 viewers and had a 3.5% market share. In the target demographic, Eurosport obtained a 3.2% share. In addition, ARD set a new season ratings record for its broadcast of the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) race at the Nürburgring. A total of 1.72 million viewers tuned in at lunchtime. The market share reached 12.4% (DWDL, 8/19).

German pay-TV channel sportdigital "has acquired the rights for the Portuguese top flight football league, Liga Zon Sagres, from rights holder IMG." The channel "will air up to two live games each matchweek" (DWDL, 8/19). ... German sports website "will reportedly show the opening game of the German national basketball team at the 2013 EuroBasket on Sept. 4." "will also livestream the game between Germany and Ukraine two days later." In addition, "has secured several games without German participation" (DWDL, 8/19). ... German free-to-air TV channel kabel eins "has secured the rights to two UEFA Europa League playoff games." The channel "will air the first leg of the matchup between VfB Stuttgart and HNK Rijeka on Thursday and the second leg of the matchup between Eintracht Frankfurt and Qarabağ Ağdam FK on Aug. 29" (DWDL, 8/19). ... IMG Production has been commissioned to produce versions of the "The Commerce World's Strongest Man 2013 hosted in Sanya, China." Now in its 36th year, the week-long event, which has MET-Rx as the presenting sponsor, started on Saturday in Sanya at the Grand Soluxe Hotel & Resort with additional venues in and around the city (IMG Production). ... The British Basketball League is launching a new platform for British basketball fans to enjoy full HD-quality live games throughout the '13-14 season. BBL TV will initially bring league pass holders access to 30 live games during the season direct to the audience's home PC, laptop and handheld devices (BBL).