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Volume 10 No. 22


The Int'l Rugby Board has announced that, for the first time, the HSBC Sevens World Series will be streamed live online. All nine rounds of the '13-14 Series will be available to watch on, starting with round one on Australia's Gold Coast Oct. 12-13. This follows the live streaming of this year's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, which was viewed by more than 260,000 unique viewers over three days. In territories where broadcast agreements are in place, geo-blocking may apply. The live streaming solution, however, means that the action will be accessible to rugby fans in every country in the world (IRB Sevens).

BT, the English pay-TV sports channel rivaling BSkyB, believes it can “co-exist” with its established rival, as it gears up for an expected bid for UEFA Champions League rights to enhance its offering. BT CEO Gavin Patterson was speaking Thursday on the final day of the Leaders Sport summit in Chelsea and made it clear that BT would be taking a serious interest in future TV sporting rights, including the UEFA Champions League. BT Sport, which launched 10 weeks ago, currently has rights to English Premiership football, Scottish football, Premiership rugby and some minor sports. Patterson admitted that BT is actively reviewing all up-and-coming TV rights, including Champions League rights from 2015. The bidding process is expected to kick off in the coming months.

A BIGGER SHARE: Should it bid, it will likely go up against current rights holders BSkyB and ITV. Patterson said, “We believe the launch went well. We also recognize there is much we can do. You can expect us to do a lot more in the future if the right opportunity to create value presents itself. We believe we can co-exist with Sky, our success does not require their failure. We look at all rights, there is nothing special, in that respect, around the Champions League. There are other rights available at the moment as well as over the next couple of years and we will look at them and assess whether we feel it can improve the overall composition." Patterson reiterated that the launch of BT’s TV sport offering was intended to help keep customers from defecting to other companies offering the triple play of TV, broadband and telephony. Though BT will be judged over time whether its move into sports broadcasting was a success, Patterson believed the launch had been a success, though stressed it had taken time to get its message out. He said, “We think the launch went well. It took a while to get some the messages across, especially the fact that it is free with BT broadband and that you can get it via a Sky box but the messages are landing now.”
John Reynolds is a writer in London.

The FIA Formula E Championship announced that Aurora Media Worldwide "has been selected to be the exclusive host broadcaster and media partner." All Formula E races will be produced in high definition. To date, Formula E has already confirmed a multi-year, multimedia deal with Fox Sports (ELECTRIC AUTOSPORT, 10/10). ... The Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique (FIG) has appointed int'l sports marketing agency IEC as its official media agency. The appointment follows the federation's decision to centralize the media rights for a series of events for the first time. The agreement, which has been designed to actively raise the profile of FIG-sanctioned competitions, includes leading FIG events such as the FIG Artistic World Cups, FIG Challenge Cups (Artistic) and FIG Rhythmic World Cups (IEC). ... SPORTFIVE announced Thursday that the sales process for the Home Video rights to the 2014 Sochi Games has commenced in the 40 territories across Europe. Offers including the rights to the next Olympic Games, which will be held in Rio, can also be submitted (SPORTFIVE).