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Volume 6 No. 212


Cricket Australia has announced the signing of a new five-year broadcast rights agreement with ABC Radio. Under the agreement, cricket followers will be able to continue tuning in to ABC Radio broadcasts of all int'l cricket played in Australia (Test, one-day int'l, int'l T20 and women’s int'l T20), beginning with Thursday’s first Commonwealth Ashes Test in Brisbane. The live, uninterrupted ball-by-ball coverage on ABC Local Radio and digital (DAB+) will also include broadcasting the finals of the Big Bash League, One-Day Cup and Women’s National Cricket League. As part of the agreement, ABC Radio will provide regular score updates of every Sheffield Shield and Interstate One Day Cup Match during its flagship live sports program, Grandstand. All of ABC’s cricket broadcasts will be streamed live and in full via Cricket Australia Live: the official app and (CA).

Financial problems have forced Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) to consider selling off the rights to next year's FIFA World Cup. Several other services face deep budget cuts as of the new year. ERR Management Board Chair Margus Allikmaa said, "We don't have enough money in next year's budget to cover the expenses on the two major events, the football world championships and the Sochi Winter Olympics." In late September, as reported at the time by Delfi and other outlets, ERR made a request to the government for €800,000 in additional funding, but was turned down. Allikmaa: "Giving up the rights is not easy and the only possibility is to sell them to another nationwide channel. This is so that Estonians could still be able to see the football and we could get to a balanced budget." Besides TV rights, ERR also holds the rights to transmit content to Internet and mobile devices, but these would cost about €600,000. Allikmaa said that he would also try to sell them off to private channels. ERR still intends to cover the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, which sources in the organization, speaking on condition of anonymity, said would necessitate paring back coverage in other areas, including some web services such as ERR News and the Russian-language news site (ERR).

Responding to Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch's comments Tuesday that the company was open to a deal with BT, a BT spokesperson has said that the company remains open to a deal, according to Alex Spence of the LONDON TIMES. Darroch said that Sky "was open to a deal that would result in the companies carrying each other’s sports programming." Responding to his comments, however, BT  "blamed Sky for the stand-off." A BT spokesperson said, "We have always said we will wholesale BT  Sport where it makes commercial sense for both parties. BT has always been open to reaching a commercial deal with Sky, but they have resisted this to date" (LONDON TIMES, 11/20). In London, Henry Mance reported the two companies "are locked in a battle for broadband subscribers, with access to sports coverage seen as a key advantage." A person with knowledge of the situation said that they "have made no progress on a wholesale deal in recent months." In the meantime, customers "have to pay separate bills to access Sky and BT sports channels." BT "has agreed a wholesale deal with Virgin Media, which is viewed as a smaller threat to its business." Darroch "also launched a sideswipe at YouView," the set-top platform in which BT and others are investing £115M ($186M), calling it “a big pluggy box” that looks “a little dated.” BT "is looking to offer YouView to customers of its low-cost Plusnet broadband service, in order to compete with TalkTalk, the Internet provider which has gained the most customers in recent months" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/20).

TAM data sourced from Star Sports revealed that Sachin Tendulkar's farewell test match "was the highest rated test match on television in India in the past 8 years," according to Urvi Malvania of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. The match "enjoyed an average viewership of 1.74 million (cable and satellite markets including males 15 years and above from SEC AB and C) across Star Sports 1, Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD1 (English feed) and Star Sports 3 which showcased the match in Hindi." The broadcaster also revealed that "Star Sports network channels together had the maximum channel share across all genres during 6 playing days of the test series." Star Sports "mounted the India West Indies test series in a way that has never been seen before in the country." The sports broadcaster "launched a 360 degree initiative involving special programming, innovative production, disruptive marketing to add buzz around Tendulkar's farewell series" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 11/21).