Abu Dhabi Media announced on Sunday that "it has acquired the broadcasting rights" in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region for UEFA European Championship Qualifiers beginning in September, according to THE NATIONAL. The qualifiers will take place across the end of '14 and throughout '15 for the '16 tournament, to be held in France. The qualifying draw "will be held at the Palais de Congres Acropolis in Nice, France" on Feb. 23. Abu Dhabi Media also announced it acquired the rights to UEFA qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, "set to be staged in Russia." The company said that "it will have at least 546 matches available for broadcast" -- 258 Euro qualifiers and 258 World Cup qualifiers, plus a minimum of 30 friendlies from the host nations (France, Euro 2016 and Russia, World Cup 2018) (THE NATIONAL, 12/22).
BT Sport "is looking to extend its sporting empire" by negotiating sponsorship deals with the four Welsh regions and four Irish provinces, as the row over next year’s European Cup "shows little sign of resolution," according to James & Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. BT sponsors both Edinburgh and Glasgow in the Pro12, with its logo on both teams’ shirts. Next season, the league’s matches "will be shown on Sky for the first time." Negotiations "are at an advanced stage." A BT source said, "BT is keen to have positive relationships with Welsh, Scottish and Irish regions so it’s no surprise that we are reaching out to them" (TELEGRAPH, 12/21). The IRISH TIMES reported talks between the six nations comprising top-level European rugby "took place in Dublin on Friday, with further discussions planned for next month." Currently, England’s 12 Premiership clubs "will not play in European competition from next season after refusing to negotiate with European Rugby Cup." Premiership Rugby "began serving a two-year notice period to quit ERC in June 2012" (IRISH TIMES, 12/22).
The Spanish pay-TV sector generated total revenues of €1.18B from July to September, down by 13.3% from the year before, according to TELECOM PAPER. The figures are based on "the quarterly report issued by Spain's telecoms regulator CNMC." However, the loss of 31,479 subscribers in the period, a 10.8% year-on-year fall, "was the lowest quarterly decrease since the number of pay-TV users began dropping at the start of 2012." The Spanish pay-TV customer base stood at 3.74 million at the end of September. The leading pay-TV platform, Prisa’s Digital+, "managed to increase its number of subscribers" by 9,000 during the third quarter, while Telefonica shed 19,000 Internet TV customers and Ono lost 22,000 cable TV subscribers (TELECOM PAPER, 12/20). BROADBAND TV NEWS reported its fixed broadband subscriber total rose by 5.8% to 11.8 million "over the same period." Of the leading companies providing electronic communications services, only one -- Jazztel -- saw its revenue grow 14.4% in Q3 (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 12/19).
MP & Silva has acquired the '13-14 Super League Greece broadcast rights for Japan. The deal was agreed with the Greek League's int'l rights-holder, TAF Sports. The league is ranked 12th in the UEFA rankings of leagues (MP & Silva). ... News Corp subsidiary News UK "has reached an agreement" with ITV to sublicense the rights to clips from the remaining '13-14 FA Cup matches. The agreement "will allow subscribers to the company’s Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapers to view clips from the tournament online via their PCs, phones and tablets" beginning Jan. 4 (SOCCEREX, 12/20). ... BBC Sport will build up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics by covering the Int'l Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation Skeleton World Cup. Races "will be shown on Sunday evenings" in the U.K. "following the flagship Ski Sunday programme" (BBC, 12/19).