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Volume 6 No. 235


It is "still a work-in-progress," but the Australian Football League’s answer to T20 cricket, AFLX, is "already raising interest from broadcasters," according to Peter Lalor of THE AUSTRALIAN. The modified rules competition, which has a chance to be trialed by the AFL early next season, is "partly aimed at spreading the game into local territories where there are not enough football grounds and possibly aspires to taking Australian football to that elusive international audience." AFLX is a 10-a-side (seven on the field at any one time) game, played on a rectangular pitch with four 10-minute quarters. Shorter, faster and transportable -- AFLX "can be played ­anywhere in the world" -- the idea will be "watched anxiously" by ­cricket and football, which "compete for oxygen with the AFL." Fox Footy GM Michael Neill admitted that "there was always demand for new content and AFLX has the potential to ­attract broadcasters." Neill said, "It’s difficult to know exactly what its full potential is until you know who is involved, what level of player and what the structure of the competition is. It is hard to say, but I can see it as a bit of a tune-up for players in the preseason." Neill agreed that the abbreviated form of the game "would be a threat to tournaments" such as the Big Bash League, but "thought it would probably be scheduled for later in the summer" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/16).

Yonhap News Agency introduced an automated reporting system to produce news on EPL games, a milestone in its efforts to improve coverage and expand technology-based journalism. The news wire service of South Korea on Monday unveiled its Soccerbot software powered by an algorithm which imitates the way human journalists write. The system has been on a pilot service after a successful test in covering all games of the '16-17 EPL season. Soccerbot produced a total of 380 automatic experimental articles, each within one or two seconds of game's end. Yonhap said that it will develop another program to cover the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The program utilizes a database of words and sentences written by Yonhap reporters. It produces articles in three steps -- collecting data, writing sentences and going through spelling and grammar checks (Yonhap). 

Real Madrid has become the first brand and sporting institution in the world to eclipse 100 million followers on Facebook, 50 million on Instagram and 25 million on Twitter for its main accounts. The total number of followers for the Real Madrid brand has hit 182 million across these three social media platforms (Real Madrid).

The London Daily Mail launched a weekly print football supplement, The Verdict, which will be issued on Mondays. Mail Brands Chief Investment Officer Dominic Williams said that the rationale for launching a new print supplement was "not advertiser-driven." Sports supplements "do not tend to attract a significant volume of display advertising but are popular with readers and can drive sales" (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 8/15).

Eleven Sports secured live and exclusive coverage of the Aug. 26 boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in Belgium. Viewers in Belgium can secure exclusive access to the fight, including the full undercard, via a fight pass subscription for €20 ($23.48) (Eleven Sports).

France Télévisions' broadcasts of the London World Athletics Championships from Aug. 4-13 on France 2 and France 3 drew an average audience of 3 million viewers. The number translated to a 17.2% market share. France 2 drew its best audience on Aug. 8, with an average of 4.4 million viewers. The highest peak audience was on France 2 on Aug. 8, with 5.7 million. France 3 drew its best audience on Aug. 12 with an average audience of 4 million (L'ÉQUIPE, 8/14).

Sunday's France vs. Australia Women’s Rugby World Cup match was watched by an average audience of 593,000 viewers on France 4. The number translated to a 3.2.% market share. France won 48-0 (L'ÉQUIPE, 8/14).