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Volume 10 No. 23


The French tennis federation (FFT) "has expressed disappointment after failing to secure what it said were acceptable offers" for broadcast rights to the French Open for the '14-18 period, according to DIGITAL TV. FFS Dir General Gilbert Ysern, cited by financial daily Les Echos, said that the organization "had only received two offers" by its deadline. Eurosport placed a bid for packages A and C that the FFS said was "far short of the reserve price, while public broadcaster France Télévisions placed a bid for all three packages on offer, which the FFS said was against its rules and could not be considered" (DIGITAL TV, 10/11). The AP reported FFT said "only Eurosport and France Television made offers for any of the three proposed lots." The FFT said Eurosport's offer was "way below" the asking price, which reports estimated at €15M ($20.3M) for '14-18. Ysern said, "We also need to understand why the majority of candidates pulled out," adding that "we remain confident, convinced of Roland Garros' (television) rights" (AP, 10/10).

NBC has reached a long-term deal with the PGA of America that will see the Ryder Cup stay on the net through ’30. The biennial tournament has been broadcast by NBC since the infamous ’91 “War by the Shore” at Kiawah Island. The deal, which officially begins in ’15, will see coverage and programming span across several different NBC Sports Group properties, including Golf Channel and NBCSN. A Ryder Cup documentary series, live practice-round coverage and live coverage of the Ryder Cup captain’s selection show are included in the agreement. The PGA of America hopes to expand Hispanic viewership with a new Ryder Cup highlights show on both Telemundo and mun2. The agreement also extends NBC’s rights to the Senior PGA Championship through ’30. The deal to keep the Ryder Cup at NBC comes just two months after the net lost the U.S. Open to Fox beginning in ’15. However, NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said the impending loss of that tent-post event did not factor into the extension with the PGA of America. “I don’t look at it as anything other than a completely independent decision,” Lazarus said, “and one we were going to make regardless of the outcome of any other rights deal we make.” In what could have been a thinly veiled shot at Fox and the USGA, PGA of America President Ted Bishop indicated the timing of the announcement was not an accident. “We certainly respected the Presidents Cup last week,” he said. PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua noted the two sides felt they had an unofficial agreement for a long-term extension last month after announcing Bethpage Black as the site of the ’18 Ryder Cup. “It was just a matter of what worked best for the PGA of America and certainly what worked best for NBC and what worked best for overall golf in America.”

Sports marketing agency SPORTFIVE and IEC in Sports, two Largardére Unlimited sports marketing subsidiaries, have united to form a media and production hub for activity across Europe and Africa. The two will share a network of contacts, years of experience and a mix of int'l staff members to offer existing and new clients a higher level of agency services. Those services cover media distribution, production and digital innovation. The agencies will engage in mutual cooperation and business activities for the benefit of rights holders, broadcasters and other media partners. Both brands will continue to exist so as to maintain their identities and reflect their market positions (SPORTFIVE). Also, IEC in Sports has renewed its agreement with the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA). The agency becomes FINA’s official media agent from '14 onwards and will distribute worldwide media rights to major FINA properties. Under the new agreement, the agency will distribute the exclusive worldwide rights to the FINA Swimming World Cup, FINA Diving World Series, FINA Water Polo World League and FINA Synchronised Swimming World Trophy (SPORTFIVE).

Board of Control for Cricket in India President N. Srinivasan has "rejected accusations that the Indian Cricket Board censors commentators employed by it, insisting that it does not 'interfere with the freedom of the press,'" according to the PTI. Srinivasan: "We don't censor commentators. This word censorship is incorrect. BCCI doesn't tell the commentator you say this, you cannot say this and things like that." A "controversy was triggered recently when former Australian captain Ian Chappell refused to take up a commentary assignment in India after being presented with a set of dos and donts." Srinivasan said, "What has he said? Ian Chappell is not employed by us. We have never said anything to him. We are talking about people employed by us. BCCI doesn't tell the commentator anything. BCCI in no way interferes with the freedom of the press. But, a commentator should be a commentator, and a journalist should be a journalist" (PTI, 10/13).