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Volume 6 No. 213


New European sports broadcasters "are causing trouble for rivals" that have long had a lock on televising football matches, according to Thomson, Schweizer & Mawad of BLOOMBERG. Pay-TV services from Sky to Canal+ "risk being priced out of the sport they have ruled for more than a decade," with entrants such as BT and Al Jazeera’s beIN Sport "bidding up rights contracts to as much as double their previous level." At stake is "one of the globe’s biggest live TV audiences." Some 173 million viewers across Europe and beyond watched Germany’s Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund square off in the UEFA Champions League final last season. As a new round of rights auctions approaches, more established broadcasters "face giving up some of their most popular programming or shelling out far more for licenses." Either option "poses a threat to profit." Sky Deutschland CEO Brian Sullivan said, "In the world of sports content, the only thing you can be sure of is there’s somebody who’s got a check that’s bigger than their business plan." For its BT Sport and ESPN channels, which went live in August, BT outbid British pay-TV market leader Sky for rights to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. London-based Liberum Capital media analyst Ian Whittaker said, "BT is doing to Sky what Sky did to everyone else years ago when it used its cash to knock out competition." Sky Deutschland in '12 won rights to broadcast Bundesliga matches, beating rivals including Deutsche Telekom AG, another former phone monopoly expanding to other services. In the auction, which included online and mobile rights for '13-17, the average annual income from the German rights soared 52% to a record €628M. In France, newcomer beIN Sport, set up by Qatar broadcaster Al Jazeera, beat Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Canal+ to most of the rights for Champions League in the last round of bidding. Deloitte partner Dan Jones said that the "biggest beneficiaries" of the increase are football clubs. Jones added that if they use the windfall to boost player salaries and build stronger teams, "it’s money well spent." Jones: "The only reason people buy tickets, T-shirts and TV subscriptions is because of what the guys are doing on the pitch" (BLOOMBERG, 1/8).

MP & Silva and Campeonato Paulista and Brasileirao distributor Globo have extended their partnership for Serie A and Campeonato Paulista distribution rights in France, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar until '15. The package also includes a weekly football magazine called FootBrazil featuring Brazilian football news and highlights. The deal will cover terrestrial free-to-air TV, satellite, cable, mobile and closed-circuit TV. It also includes all mobile and Internet platforms (MP & Silva).

The new F1 documentary "1" made its London debut Thursday. The film tells the story of the drivers who competed during F1’s dangerous '60s and '70s, and those who stood up to improve safety standards. Using rare archive footage, "1" features the largest list of F1 interviewees ever assembled for a single film, among them 12 world champions. Contributors include Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley, Professor Sid Watkins, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, John Surtees, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Jody Scheckter, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Jacky Ickx and Martin Brundle. The Spitfire Pictures, Flat-Out Films and Diamond Docs production is directed by documentary maker Paul Crowder, whose credits include the award-winning "Riding Giants," and written by Crowder’s long-time creative partner Mark Monroe, the man behind Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove." Nigel Sinclair co-produced ''1'' with Michael Shevloff (F1).

The Int'l Paralympic Committee awarded the Japanese broadcast rights for the Sochi Olympics to public broadcaster NHK. NHK will broadcast more than 29 hours of coverage from Sochi as well as 46 hours from the 2016 Rio Summer Paralympics on two free-to-air channels, General TV and Educational TV. NHK will also show the Opening Ceremonies for the first time. A 30-minute highlight show will be shown each day from the Sochi Paralympics while a one-hour show will be broadcast from the Rio Paralympics. NHK will also promote the Paralympics online and in other marketing campaigns (IPC).

Lionel Messi's return from injury after two months in FC Barcelona's 4-0 defeat of Getafe resonated on social media, with Twitter mentions of Messi multiplying by four after the player's second goal, with 24,000 tweets in a single minute. Messi's official Instagram photo celebrating his return with his teammates received more than 200,000 "likes." Tweets with the hashtag "#Messi" generated 291,000 tweets an hour during Messi's time on the pitch (FC Barcelona).

GLOBAL PRESS PRAISES MESSI: In Argentina, Ole celebrated Messi's return with a front page spread switching the paper's title to "Leo." Barcelona-based newspaper Sport's headline read, "The f****** master is back" (FC Barcelona).

Pan-European sports network Eurosport "is celebrating its 25th anniversary and launched its 'We Live For Live' birthday campaign on Wednesday." The int'l on and off-air campaign includes 25 graphic elements, which will be visible during Eurosport programming and on site at live sporting events. In addition, it includes a marketing campaign including ads and PR and social media content (DWDL, 1/8). ... Multi Screen Media's sports channel Sony Six "has acquired the exclusive broadcast rights" to the New Zealand vs India cricket series. The 30-day tour scheduled between Jan. 19 and Feb. 18 "includes five ODIs followed by two Test Matches and will be held in New Zealand" (Indian BUSINESS STANDARD, 1/9).