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Volume 6 No. 213


Viewing figures for Scottish football "have nearly doubled" since the Scottish Professional Football League came into being, according to the Scotland DAILY RECORD. While "the exact numbers for last season are being kept under wraps for the moment," it is understood they "were almost twice as high as the final campaign" before the Scottish Premier League merged with the Scottish Football League. SPFL Commercial Dir Scott Steedman said, "I was as surprised as anyone when I saw the totals. This shows it’s not all doom and gloom in Scottish football and I think it’s down to the fact that last year was a good one for the game." The current agreements with Sky and BT run until '16, but they "will be renegotiated next year" (DAILY RECORD, 7/27).

Pub companies and landlords "are turning their back on live sport as a magnet for attracting customers and darkening their TVs instead, signalling the decline in a relationship that was integral to the development of the Premier League and Sky," according to Blitz & Mance of the FINANCIAL TIMES. With three weeks to the start of the new Premier League season, landlords "must decide whether to renew their Sky and BT subscriptions." But with the pub industry "more focused on the eating-out market, there is growing evidence that landlords and pub groups regard screening live sport not just as increasingly expensive but a hindrance to attracting their target audience of 40-somethings, females and families." Surveys by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers revealed "the proportion of landlords with a sports subscription is in steady decline." In '03, it was 51% but last season had slumped to 37%. Kate Nicholls of the ALMR said that with subscription costs averaging £15,000 ($25,500) a year and rising 5% from next week, landlords "were finding it harder to make the economics stack up." She said, "We are seeing a declining proportion of pubs majoring on sport. Changing demographics and costs come into it." Ralph Findlay, CEO of Marston’s, which is spending £80M ($136M) a year building new pub-restaurants, said, "Sport is less relevant now to the pub than it used to be. Customers are often put off by big sporting events in their pubs." According to Alistair Darby, CEO of Mitchells & Butlers, which has 1,600 pubs, "growth in home entertainment has seen pubs lose their competitive advantage." He said, "We are always reviewing the cost of sport. In 400 of our pubs it is still very important, but for a lot of other pubs to show sport would cost a lot of money. ... It is a significant investment." Pubs "have been a vital component of the Sky business model since the launch of the Premier League two decades ago because millions of fans were reluctant to pay a Sky home subscription to watch live football." Analysts following Sky said that "it gets income from pubs and clubs subscriptions of up to" £300M ($509M) a year (FT, 7/27).

German free-to-air TV channel Sat.1 "recorded top ratings for its broadcast of the Telekom Cup preseason friendly between Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach," according to David Grzeschik of QUOTENMETER. The game, which started at 8:30pm, attracted 2.19 million viewers during the first half on Saturday night. The number translated into a market share of 9.5%. In the target demographic 14-49, the game's first half recorded 850,000 viewers and had a 12% share. The second half of the game, which started at 9:15, obtained a market share of 9.6%. In the target demographic, the game's second half had an 11.6% share. After a 2-2 draw, Bayern won the game 5-4 after penalty kicks. The shootout attracted 2.89 million viewers and obtained an 11.7% share. In the target demographic, Sat.1 recorded 1.15 million viewers and had a 13.6% share. The day's first game between Hamburg SV and VfL Wolfsburg, which started at 6pm, recorded a market share of 11.4% as 1.31 million viewers tuned in. In the target demographic, the game was watched by 1.47 million viewers and had an 11.7% share. The game, which also went to a penalty shootout, was won by Wolfsburg. The shootout attracted 1.8 million viewers and obtained market shares of 9.7% overall and 12.5% in the target demographic (QUOTENMETER, 7/27).

TRACK & FIELD: QUOTENMETER's Grzeschik reported in a separate piece German public broadcaster ZDF attracted 880,000 viewers to its broadcast of the German track and field championships on Saturday afternoon. The number translated into a market share of 8.4%. In the target demographic, the event had a market share of 4.9%.

FORMULA ONE: German free-to-air TV channel RTL attracted 1.65 million viewers for its broadcast of the F1 qualifying session from the Hungaroring. The number equaled a market share of 16.7%. In the target demographic, the session recorded a market share of 14.2% (QUOTENMETER, 7/27).

On Friday, Liga MX side Universidad de Guadalajara signed its broadcast deal with Uno TV, which is owned by Carlos Slim's América Móvil, according to LA AFICION. With this agreement, the club's games will be "broadcast globally on the Internet through Uno TV and on Dish." Univ. de Guadalajara's matches will be broadcast throughout Mexico on ESPN and in the U.S. and Canada on Univisión. Team President Raúl Padilla and Leones Negros will receive $9M in the deal, a historic sum for a recently-promoted club (LA AFICION, 7/26).