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Volume 6 No. 215


IMG "has rejected an offer from German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF for Wimbledon broadcast rights," according to Manuel Weis of QUOTENMETER. More than three months after German tennis player Sabine Lisicki surprisingly reached the Wimbledon women's final, "it is still unclear who will air Wimbledon live in Germany in '14." Back in July, ARD Sports Dir Axel Balkausky said that the channel "would try to acquire a little TV package for Wimbledon." But this plan "seems to have reportedly failed." Still in the race for the German Wimbledon rights "is pay-TV network Sky, which has exclusively aired the tournament since '11." There are also speculations that media group ProSiebenSat.1 "is interested in the rights." Free-to-air TV channel Sat.1 Gold is currently being transformed into a tennis channel, and next year sports pay-TV channel ran+ is expected to be launched (QUOTENMETER, 10/21).

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF "have reportedly been trying to sublicense parts of their World Cup broadcast rights to free-TV channels," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. The "rights in question are for World Cup matches not featuring the German national team." Only RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 "seem to be possible candidates for the rights." However, "due to the, from a German perspective, rather unattractive kickoff times, the networks won't be willing to pay steep prices." German pay-TV channel Sky "has already announced that it will not broadcast from the World Cup in Brazil." Instead, it "wants to focus on in-house sports news channel Sky Sport News HD" (DWDL, 10/21).

FC Barcelona has expanded the number of languages on its website to nine, as Portuguese was added Friday. The next project is to add Turkish. Brazil has provided the second-highest number of players to Barcelona, and the country's connection to the team started in the '40s, when Lucidio Batista became Barcelona's first Brazilian player. The club opened a Portuguese Twitter account in June, and it already has 30,000 followers. Brazil has the third-most Barcelona Facebook followers of any country (Barcelona). ... SPORT reported Barcelona footballer Adriano and FC Barcelona basketball player Marcelinho Huertas appear in the team's promotional video for its new Portuguese site. The demand for Barcelona information, "especially in Brazil after the signing of Neymar, is steadily growing" (SPORT, 10/21).

The European Broadcast Union "has extended its contract with the Int'l Swimming Federation (FINA) until '17," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. The new package "includes the 2015 World Championships in Russian and the 2017 World Championships in Mexico, among others." The deal also includes the short course world championships. In Germany, public broadcasters ARD and ZDF "will continue to show all FINA World Championships." In addition, the public broadcasters "have reportedly reached a deal with the German Swimming Federation (DSV) regarding the broadcast of the German Swimming Championships." This year's coverage of the event only reached market shares of about 3%. ZDF Sports Dir Dieter Gruschwitz called those numbers "disastrous" (DWDL, 10/21).

Mobile phone producer HTC's research has revealed how football fans in stadiums across Europe are bringing volume and variety to the social media debate, accounting for more than a third -- 35% -- of all local tweets about each match. Four of the first matches of this season's Champions League group stage showed that fans watching at the grounds are responsible for nearly 10 times more tweets per fan than TV viewers. Big games are now familiar on Twitter feeds -- with up to 83% of fans using a second screen while watching football, and the smartphone is playing a big role in interaction with the game, nowhere more than at the match itself. Comparing conversations of fans in stadiums to tweets from the rest of the country, the study found that fans in stadiums enjoy being amateur pundits in match conversations, mentioning scorelines (24%), goals (23%) and managers (14%). The study found that Chelsea fans were the noisiest, with 129 tweets per 100 attendees. AC Milan fans had nine tweets per 100 attendees. Overall, stadium crowds in the U.K. (Stamford Bridge) and Spain (Camp Nou) were more active on social media than those in Italy (AC and Inter Milan's Stadio Giuseppe Meazza) and France (Olympique de Marseille's Stade Vélodrome), accounting for more than 88% of the social conversation between the four. The study showed that clubs also want to get in on social media. Where fans were noisiest, at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge, the team only tweeted 38 times. With a quieter social media crowd in France, Olympique de Marseille's account reached 182 tweets on matchday to offer extra content to keep fans engaged (HTC).

The chances of the proposed Canberra-Manly rugby league game in China getting the green light "have been boosted by Channel Nine throwing its considerable weight behind the watershed fixture," according to Jon Tuxworth of the CANBERRA TIMES. Nine "has expressed strong interest" in broadcasting the first National Rugby League fixture outside of Australia and New Zealand next year. The free-to-air broadcaster's conditional backing "is a significant development as powerbrokers work feverishly to ratify the match." Raiders' major sponsor Huawei, a Chinese telecom company, "is keen to know if the game is going ahead." It "was initially hoped the fixture, which would be held in Shenzhen, would be a stand-alone season opener, but officials are now targeting April or early May" (CANBERRA TIMES, 10/22).

German pay-TV channel Sky "recorded successful ratings for its broadcast of Saturday's Bundesliga games," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. A total of 1.33 million viewers tuned in to watch Sky's simulcast of all five Bundesliga games on Saturday afternoon or one of the individual game feeds. In the target demographic 14-49, the pay-TV network obtained a 13.2% market share. Saturday's top game between Hertha Berlin and Borussia Mönchengladbach, which started at 6:30pm German time, was watched by an average of 540,000 viewers. Hertha's 1-0 victory had a 2.1% market share. In addition, Sky attracted 540,000 viewers to each of its two Bundesliga game broadcasts on Sunday. The games, Hamburg vs. Stuttgart and Augsburg vs. Wolfsburg, recorded market shares of 3.2% and 2.5%, respectively (DWDL, 10/21).

U.S. firm Time Warner Cable Sports signed a two-year programming deal with EPL side Aston Villa that will see it carry "Aston Villa Weekly" on TWC SportsNet and TWC Deportes. The weekly, three-hour program launches on TWC SportsNet at 11am Tuesday. This week, it will be repeated three times on TWC SportsNet and four times TWC Deportes. Programming consists of a replay of Villa's most recent games, as well as interviews, news and behind-the-scenes features about the club (John Ourand, SBJ). ... Media company Red Bull Media House "has reached a three-year deal with U.S. network Fox Sports." Red Bull events such as the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championships and the Red Bull Air Race World Championships "will air live and in HD on the Fox Sports family of channels starting in '14" (DWDL, 10/21).