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Volume 10 No. 26


Twitter is "in talks" to screen the U.S. PGA Championship in the U.K. "after Sky lost its exclusive broadcast rights to the event," according to Ahmed & Bond of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The social media company is "holding negotiations to obtain the digital streaming rights" to the '17 tournament for the U.K., according to several people briefed on the discussions. A deal with Twitter "would fit" the U.S. company’s strategy of "obtaining live sports rights in a bid to grow its user base in its effort to reach profitability." If Twitter is successful in securing the U.S. PGA rights, "it would be a blow to Sky," the satellite broadcaster that has exclusively shown the event on its British sports channels for the past decade. Other people familiar with the process said that a British "free-to-air" broadcaster was also in talks for TV rights to next month’s tournament at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina. The rights "could be attractive to the BBC," which has scaled back its live golf coverage due to the need to make cost savings. Together, the TV and digital deals for the tournament are "expected to recoup" up to $10M, "similar to what Sky had paid for past tournaments" (FT, 7/16).

Billionaire Len Blavatnik’s "year-old quest to build the Netflix of sports" will reportedly "take its first step into North America with the introduction of his DAZN streaming platform in Canada," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Sources said that DAZN, backed by Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings, "may announce the Canadian expansion this month." The London-based company has been "competing with established broadcasters to buy premium sports rights" in countries including Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where it has operated since Aug. '16. In Japan, it paid 210B yen ($1.9B) for a 10-year deal to show the J.League. DAZN did not confirm or deny its Canadian plans. The company said in an email, "It's no secret that DAZN has big ambitions for global expansion. We'll have more details to announce in the coming weeks, so stay tuned." DAZN’s arrival "could create pressure on BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc., which own wireless and cable networks, TV stations and the country’s major sports teams," including Toronto’s NHL, NBA and MLB teams. Both companies "offer sports content online but generally require customers to have a cable subscription to access it" (BLOOMBERG, 7/14).

21st Century Fox "declined to table a new offer to protect the editorial independence of Sky News, almost certainly triggering a full inquiry by the British competition authorities" into the U.S. media group's £11.7B ($15.3B) takeover of satellite broadcaster Sky. Last month, U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told parliament that she set Fox a deadline of 5pm Friday to "come up with fresh undertakings that might remove concerns" the takeover would hand Rupert Murdoch's empire "too much power" over the U.K. media. However, multiple sources confirmed that Fox opted instead to let the matter move to the Competition and Markets Authority for a full "phase 2 inquiry" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/13).

Year-to-date viewing on the Eurosport Network is up 14% on the same period last year. The first nine days of the Tour de France saw an average of 669,000 viewers in 10 of Europe's biggest markets, an increase of 4% versus '16. Substantial growth in average viewers was recorded in Germany (+18%), Italy (+31%) and Norway (+347%). There has been a 38% uplift in number of minutes viewed, with 1.5 billion minutes of action watched on Eurosport's channels. A total of 4.4 million visitors to Eurosport's digital platforms contributed to 26.9M page views so far (Eurosport).