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Volume 10 No. 25


Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim's telecom company América Móvil has agreed to sell the exclusive Mexican broadcast rights of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games "to government-owned television channel Canal 22," according to Dolia Estevez of FORBES. Slim's spokesperson, Arturo Elias Ayub, declined to "say how much Canal 22 will pay for the rights, arguing that 'it’s a private deal.'" Elías did not say if the agreement "includes the broadcast rights for the 2016 Summer Games, which América Móvil also owns." Canal 22 is a "government-owned cultural TV channel which has a small audience compared to Mexico’s TV duopoly, Televisa and TV Azteca." Details of the agreement will be "known on Wednesday, when it is expected to be signed in Mexico City." Mexican TV expert Jenaro Villamil said, "For Slim and América Móvil, it’s clear that the deal is a way to gain access to open TV broadcasting without having to depend on Televisa or TV Azteca. The relationship between Slim and Televisa and TV Azteca fractured in 2011 around the 'advertising wars.'" Slim stopped advertising with Televisa and TV Azteca in '11 after a "dispute over phone rates and TV advertising rates." Villamil opined that the deal blurs Canal 22's "original purpose" and said, "Canal 22 could now be perceived as a channel that is 'for rent' or 'for sale' in the future." América Móvil in March won the exclusive broadcast rights to the winter Olympic Games and the "rights to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, for all of Latin America (with the exception of Brazil)." Neither Slim nor the IOC "revealed at that time the amount that América Móvil paid for the exclusive rights in Latin America," but Mexican analysts estimated it at $110M. The broadcasting deal "gave Slim a foot in the door to try to enter the paid TV market, which he can now do thanks to the Mexican anti-monopoly telecommunication bill approved earlier this year" (FORBES, 11/4).

Arsenal has become the first sports team in the U.K. "to reach three million followers on Twitter," according to FC BUSINESS. Launched in '09, Arsenal's official account has become one of the club's primary communication channels "with its worldwide supporter base." Over the course of the past year, the Gunners have opened local language accounts in Spanish, Japanese, Bahasa (Indonesia) and Vietnamese, and a specific account for fans in the U.S. -- "all designed to build a closer level of engagement with its supporters in those regions." The club has gained 1 million followers in less than 12 months, "thanks to a range of innovative campaigns and promotions" (FC BUSINESS, 11/5). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Tom Parsons wrote although times have recently been tougher on the pitch for ManU, "there was good news for them this week in the fact they leapfrogged their arch rivals Manchester City on the Twitter followers table." This has only taken them three months to achieve and "their next task will ultimately be to chase Liverpool down." All three clubs "have made a lot of press recently about the success of their multiple twitter accounts in multiple languages" -- aimed generally at the Southeast Asian markets. Hull has "the least followers at this moment in time." The two biggest clubs globally on Twitter are Barcelona and Real Madrid with 10.438 million and 9.342 million followers, respectively (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/5).

 EPL Twitter Rankings
 Arsenal 3,012,574
 Chelsea 2,976,499
 Liverpool 2,088,943
 ManU 1,305,302
 Man City 1,277,667
 Tottenham 690,345
 Newcastle 304,642
 Everton 268,403
 West Ham 228,666
 Aston Villa 221,580
 Fulham 178,105
 Sunderland 176,418
 Swansea 172,374
 Southampton 157,163
 Norwich 155,465
 Stoke 148,283
 West Brom 104,923
 Cardiff 77,702
 Crystal Palace 67,913
 Hull 59,751

STAR TV India is putting in "a substantial" Rs 20,000 crore ($3.2B) in the next three to five years to "revamp its sports channel offerings," according to Surajeet Das Gupta of the India BUSINESS STANDARD. STAR is "not just content buying expensive broadcasting rights." For one, it "wants to develop and push non-cricketing sports." Therefore, it is "going to buy equity stake in properties in sports like hockey and badminton and build them up (like it has done by buying 30 per cent stake in the Indian Football League)." For another, it is "aggressively marketing hitherto untouched properties like university cricket." And, it wants to buy sponsorship rights so that its brand is "synonymous with sports (it took title sponsorship rights for all the 13 international cricket matches to be held in India between October 2013 and March 2014)." To meet its objectives, STAR is "revamping its sports channel portfolio." It is "retiring the ESPN brand name (it had bought over ESPN) and pulling out Star Cricket, a channel almost exclusively dedicated to the sport." Instead, it will "have six sports channels -- Star Sports 1 to 4 and two high-definition (HD) channels" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 11/5).

Pan-European broadcaster Eurosport "recorded low ratings for its broadcast of Sunday's New York City Marathon," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. An average of 150,000 viewers tuned in starting at 3:30pm. The two-and-a-half-hour live broadcast obtained a 0.8% market share. In the target demographic 14-49, the marathon event had a 0.4% share. Ahead of the marathon broadcast, Eurosport showed the World Touring Car Championship race from Shanghai. The broadcast attracted 110,000 viewers at 8:23am. The number translated into a market share of 2.6% in the target demographic. An hour later, the WTCC event obtained a 1.3% share while 120,000 viewers tuned in (DWDL, 11/4).