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Volume 6 No. 215


Discovery Communications' Eurosport "is bidding" for Italian football TV rights "to challenge Mediaset and Sky Italia in broadcasting the country’s most popular sport," according to Lepido & Schweizer of BLOOMBERG. Sources said that Eurosport bid for a package that includes 132 matches involving 12 top-division teams and has a starting price of $960M. The rights "cover three seasons," beginning in the fall of '15. Discovery "is seeking to become more competitive in sports after acquiring control of Eurosport this year." Also bidding are current rights holders Mediaset, controlled by former PM Silvio Berlusconi, and Sky Italia, part of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. The auction for the Serie A rights, managed by Infront Italy, ended on Thursday. It includes "four main TV-rights packages," with a total starting price of €2.88B ($3.8B). The league "now has 21 days to evaluate the offers" (BLOOMBERG, 6/5).

Three FIFA World Cup matches this summer "will be streamed in ultra high-definition (UHD)," according to Jane Wakefield of the BBC. The format, also known as 4K, "offers four times the resolution of 1080p high definition video." The matches included the quarterfinals and the final. It marks "one of the first times a live event has been streamed over the air in UHD in the UK." They "will only be made available to a limited number of TVs at BBC sites." But it "could pave the way for more widespread use of the technology" (BBC, 6/5). Stevie Wonder's song, "Another Star," will provide the theme tune for the BBC's World Cup coverage. The song, with its Latin American vibe, will be used as the opening sequence for all of the BBC's World Cup programs. It is the first time Wonder has given his approval for one of his songs to be used in this way (BBC).

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone insisted that "he is not alarmed by the sport's declining television audience and sees no need to revamp its social media approach," according to RACER. Amid viewership drops in "key markets" such as Italy and Germany, there "have been calls for F1 to make the most of opportunities offered by new media channels like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube." But Ecclestone "remains unmoved, and doubts the social media boom will last." When asked about falling TV ratings, Ecclestone said, "It matters, obviously, but when you say it is falling, it is changing. But I think the change that is currently taking place is very short-lived, as these social media people are starting to think it is not as good as they thought." When asked if he believed F1 needed to change its approach, and officially embrace social media like other sports have done, he said, "No. We're commercial. ... If they find people to pay us [to do that] then I will be happy" (RACER, 6/5).

Mexico's Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) released the list of sports events that cannot be broadcast exclusively by broadcaster Televisa or telecom América Móvil, the so-called "preponderant" organizations in those sectors. Neither Televisa nor América Móvil will be able to exclusively broadcast the Mexican men's national football team's games, the opening and closing ceremonies of summer Olympics; the opening and closing ceremonies, the quarterfinals, the semifinals and the finals of the World Cup and the two-legged Liga MX final. Mexico considers any company controlling more than 50% of its respective market "preponderant" (IFT).