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Volume 6 No. 213


The arrival of Argentina's "Football For All" program in '09 was "supposed to be an economic solution for clubs," according to Maximiliano Benozzi of CLARIN. That is when "the Argentine government took charge of broadcasting all Argentine first division games in exchange for 600 million Argentine pesos." In the "four years since then," that figure has increased to 1.4 million Argentine pesos ($210,000). Argentine FA President Julio Grondona recently presented a project to the Argentine government and said, "I want to tell them that we do not all need free football on TV. Those with money should cooperate because we badly need the resources." The Argentine FA recently announced that the country's state channel will broadcast all 64 2014 World Cup matches for free (CLARIN, 1/10).

The BBC "is lining up nearly 1,200 hours of live and catch-up video action from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in February, with its most comprehensive digital coverage of the four-yearly event yet, encompassing TV, HD streams, computer, tablet and mobile," according to Hatty Collier of the London GUARDIAN. From the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7, "the BBC staff of 95 in the Russian city on the Black Sea coast will deliver 200 hours of network TV coverage." The BBC "is planning a further 660 hours of live action and 330 hours of replays and catch-up via various digital services." These will include "two red button video streams via traditional TV sets and six HD video streams available to viewers on PC, tablet, mobile and Internet connected TVs." BBC2, BBC Radio 5 Live and the corporation's website "will also have extensive Sochi Winter Games coverage." Online coverage "will be focused on a fully responsive Winter Olympics live page on the BBC Sport website, which combines live video streams, Radio 5 Live coverage, stats and digital journalism in one place for the first time and optimises content, including video based on the size and type of the device -- PC, tablet or mobile -- used to view it" (BBC, 1/9).

ESPN execs said that the 2014 World Cup in Brazil "will be significantly boosted" from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa "thanks to proximate time zones and growing U.S. interest," according to Michael O'Connell of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. And ESPN "expects to pass the torch on a high note." Network Senior VP and EP of event production Jed Drake met with reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday, where he said that "internal ratings predictions are up quite a bit" from the '10 games. Drake: "I can't give you an exact number in terms of percentage increase, but it is significant over 2010." A number of factors "work in ESPN's favor, but none are likely bigger than the timing of the games." When the tournament starts June 12, Rio de Janeiro "will only be one hour ahead" of the Eastern Time Zone. Primetime games will start at 6pm on the East Coast and 3pm on the West Coast. ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas said, "You don't have to sneak out of work, go to the bar, and then go back to work. You can go to the bar, drink and keep drinking." ESPN "also has a stronger U.S. team in its corner this time around -- and an increased awareness" of the sport. Stateside World Cup ratings jumped 41% in '10 from the '06 games (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 1/11).

SOCCER STORIES: ESPN Films will premiere a new series in April surrounding the 2014 World Cup on ESPN. "Soccer Stories" will include a mix of standalone, feature-length and 30-minute-long documentary films from award-winning filmmakers telling narratives around the football landscape. In addition, a collection of 10 vignettes about Brazil's culture will be featured throughout ESPN's World Cup programming (ESPN). THE WRAP's Tony Maglio reported the two feature-length films are “Hillsborough,” directed by Daniel Gordon -- the first film in the series, launching on April 22 -- and “White, Blue and White,” directed by Camilo Antolini and produced by Juan Jose Campanella. The six 30-minute films are “Garrincha: Crippled Angel,” “Barbosa -- The Man Who Made All of Brazil City,” “Ceasefire Massacre,” “The Opposition,” “Mysteries of the The Jules Rimet Trophy,” and “Maradona ’86” (THE WRAP, 1/11).

German private-TV channel Sat.1 "obtained less than 10% market share in the target demographic 14-49 for its NFL playoffs broadcast in the night from Saturday to Sunday," according to Daniel Sallhoff of QUOTENMETER. Between 12:19am and 1:44am, Sat.1 recorded a 9.1% market share in the target demographic. The number increased to 11.4% after 1:44am. At the beginning, the NFL broadcast attracted 560,000 viewers and later decreased to 480,000 viewers. At 1:49am and 2:56am, Sat.1 had market shares of 10.6% and 9.7%, respectively. The viewership numbers decreased from 360,000 viewers to 270,000. The rating numbers after 2:56am "will not be available until Monday" (QUOTENMETER, 1/12).

Mai TV Fiji Ltd. "has secured the rights to air the Bundesliga competition." Mai TV "will air the remaining matches" of the '13-14 season and the '14-15 season. Mai TV "received the rights from DFL Sports Enterprises," which is the int'l agent for the competition and a subsidiary of the Bundesliga itself (FIJI TIMES, 1/9). ... UFC Exec VP & Asia Managing Dir Mark Fischer said that the outfit is "considering launching a Southeast Asia version of its reality television show, as well as a series pitting fighters from South Korea and Japan against each other." Fischer said that "The Ultimate Fighter" is now in its first season in China and "attracts as many as 16 million viewers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/10).