A year after field hockey "faced the prospect of Olympic exclusion from the 2020 Games," the Int'l Hockey Federation (FIH) admitted that its newly-acquired $250M TV deal with Indian broadcaster Star Sports is a "game-changing" one, according to Rod Gilmour of the London TELEGRAPH. Talks have developed "in the last two years between the FIH and global broadcasters." It was Star Sports which "ultimately approached hockey chiefs to become involved and an eight-year, media partnership deal was inked last month." FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather said, "We've now got a partner who is far more committed than anyone else before. They see hockey as a long-term partnership to build and revive the sport around the globe." Even though the deal will not start until '15, "changes to how the sport is portrayed have already been realised." The FIH uses "up to nine cameras per game, while Star Sports position 19." Star wants to "include cameras in changing rooms" and goalkeeper cams, while the spider cam will be "used for the first time at this summer's World Cup in the Netherlands." Future ideas include "heart rate monitors on the goalkeeper" (TELEGRAPH, 2/24).
EPL Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho "has criticised the media" after French TV station Canal+ published comments he made about Chelsea lacking reliable strikers, adding that remarks about Samuel Eto'o's age "were not intended to be serious," according to Josh Reich of REUTERS. Chelsea's Champions League game at Galatasaray on Wednesday "has been overshadowed by Mourinho's comments that were made at a sponsor's event in Switzerland as part of a private conversation that he did not know was being filmed." Mourinho: "The problem with Chelsea is we lack a scorer. I have one (Eto'o) but he's 32. Maybe 35, who knows?" Mourinho said that he "was not defending what he said but that the media should be embarrassed by what had occurred." Mourinho: "I think you should be embarrassed as media professionals because by the ethical point of view I don't think you are happy that your colleague is able to record a private conversation and to make it public" (REUTERS, 2/25).
PRIVATE COMMENTS BECOME PUBLIC: The BBC reported Mourinho said that "he was joking when he complained about Chelsea's lack of forwards and made an unflattering comment" about Eto'o's age. Mourinho: "It was a funny conversation with somebody that doesn't belong to the football world. It is a disgrace that someone is taping a private conversation" (BBC, 2/25). In London, Jeremy Wilson reported the comments were made when Mourinho was "speaking to representatives of the Swiss watch manufacturer Hublot." The remark about Eto'o is "understood to have been a reference to the supposed doubt about the true age of some African players." Mourinho believes that the context "has been completely lost and is furious" that Canal+ posted the video on its website. The footage was "subsequently deleted," but, by then, Mourinho's comments "had been translated and broadcast around the world" (TELEGRAPH, 2/25).
Officials are adamant live TV coverage of New Zealand's flagship golf tournament "is part of its future, but in the meantime fans must settle for a highlights package and live online streaming," according to Fred Woodcock of FAIRFAX NZ NEWS. Prohibitive costs mean the New Zealand Open in Queenstown this week, like the women's open, "will not be screened live" on TV. There will, however, "be highlights and some live coverage streamed online" by Ian Taylor's Dunedin-based sports graphics company, Animation Research Ltd., which is "offering its services and technology." Tournament Dir Michael Glading was "excited" by the recent development, but they "did not see online streaming as a substitute for live television, which 'is still very much part of our future.'" Glading: "We realize TV is important and it's part of the future, but we can't do this year and achieve sustainability. We hope it will over time and we certainly explored costings this year." The "commercial reality" of TV in a country of 4 million people "meant achieving financial viability was always going to be tough for most sports, particularly golf which is expensive to cover." Glading said Taylor's company was "doing it for peanuts" (FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 2/25).
German public broadcaster ARD "attracted more than 6 million viewers to its broadcast of the Sochi Closing Ceremony on Sunday," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. A total of 6.33 million viewers tuned in starting at 5pm. The number translated into a market share of 25.8%. In the target demographic 14-49, ARD's coverage attracted 1.1 million viewers and had a 12.8% share. Overall, Germany's public broadcasters ARD and ZDF "can be happy with their ratings over the course of the Olympics." Eight years ago, ARD and ZDF obtained a market share of 21.3% for their coverage of the 2006 Turin Games. The 2010 Vancouver Games had a 19% market share and this year's Sochi Games obtained more than 25% (DWDL, 2/24).