French newspaper Les Echos said that "reports about the sale of Eurosport to the Discovery Communications Group are accurate," according to LE FIGARO. The sports channel, owned by TF1, "could pass under the American flag by the end of the year." Discovery Communications wants "complete control" of Eurosport. The U.S. media group and TF1 have "entered into negotiations to finalize the transfer." Discovery "already acquired a 20% stake in the pan-European sports channel" for €170M in December. It also "has an option to purchase up to 51% of Eurosport." TF1 has an option to sell its remaining 49%. The transaction "could be finalized a year ahead of its original schedule" (LE FIGARO, 10/9).
Serie A clubs "are considering a proposal to sell their TV rights" from the '15-16 to '20-21 seasons for an up-front €5.5B ($7.4B), according to Matt Scott of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. According to a report in Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore, Infront "has tabled a bid underwriting the league's income from televised matches for six seasons." It would guarantee €900M ($1.2M) to €930M ($1.3M) a year for the 20-club league. After years of decline in media revenues, which were "blamed for Italy's slide from being the dominant European league" in the early '90s, "stiff competition" between Italy's existing pay-TV broadcasters, Sky Italia and Mediaset, "has revived the market." Now with the Infront offer, Serie A clubs "stand to extract still more value from their TV rights." The long-term nature of the Infront proposal "would also bring added certainty of income, assisting clubs in their business planning when considering stadium and player investments" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/8).
MMA organizer M-1 Global appointed SPORTFIVE Int'l to distribute global media rights (excluding Russia) for all M-1 Global MMA events through '17 with a four-year option. SPORTFIVE Int'l will also provide TV production support including satellite transmission, digital fan interaction and archive sales of classic fights. The first event under the deal will occur Oct. 20 at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg (SPORTFIVE).