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Volume 10 No. 22


National Rugby League clubs "have issues with the game plan for the governing body's beefed-up digital media service to be unveiled next year," according to Will Swanton of THE AUSTRALIAN. The revamped website will start from Jan. 1. It is designed to be the "go-to service for league news." Clubs have been told it will be a "centralised newsroom" modeled after the Australian Football League and Cricket Australia websites. Negotiations are continuing between the NRL and the clubs that are being asked to "fork out" a combined A$20M ($15.9M) "for a service they have reservations about." One club official said that clubs were "uneasy" about the NRL's multi-million dollar venture. The NRL pledged A$150M ($118.9M) to the project over seven years. The league "plans to distribute the same centralised news to all the club websites." One club official said on Sunday that supporters of one club were unlikely to "give a stuff" about news from another club but their team's website "will be clogged with it." The "complications are numerous." The first is that if the NRL wants exclusive access to its players on occasions, "most of the elite players already have individual contracts with media companies such as Fox Sports." The second complication is that it is "near-impossible to be an independent reporter when you are working for a governing body" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/21).

Australian telecom Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said that a deal to combine Foxtel and Fox Sports "will put the company in a better position to vie with tech giants for sports rights and premium content," according to Davidson & Adhikari of THE AUSTRALIAN. News Corp. and Telstra are "pushing ahead with plans" to merge Foxtel and Fox Sports into a sports and entertainment pay-TV player ahead of a multi-billion dollar stock market listing. Asked about Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube’s growing interest in top-tier sports rights, Penn said, "Our media sector is very dynamic at the moment, and with more media becoming available over the internet, essentially that’s changing the dynamics of the industry. There are new players such as Amazon that are providing media offerings, and Netflix." He added, "This move is really actually to bring those two businesses together and simplify the structure, definitely so they can be well positioned to respond to all of the changing market dynamics including the need to actually make more of that content available over the internet, over an IP (internet protocol) network, as well as through broadcast as well." While a deal has yet to be finalized, the two sides have "begun talks and sought regulatory approval." They "hope to get the green light" from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission by March (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/18).

FIBA and German telecom Deutsche Telekom announced on Friday a rights agreement through '21. Telekom will offer FIBA national team games live and in HD across three platforms: on TV through EntertainTV, online via and on mobile devices through the Telekom Sport App. The agreement comes into effect at FIBA EuroBasket 2017, from Aug. 31-Sept. 17 (FIBA). 

Australia's national netball team's build-up to the Commonwealth Games will be shown live and free in Australia. Every game of the upcoming netball Quad series and Constellation Cup with New Zealand will be televised by Channel Nine. The Quad series involves Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/20).

The France-Ireland Women’s Rugby World Cup match on Thursday, which France won 21-5, was watched by an average audience of 2.34 million viewers on France 2. It was the first women’s rugby match broadcast on France 2 and the numbers translated to a 12.1% market share. It drew a peak audience of 3.1 million (L’ÉQUIPE, 8/18).

Spanish operator Telecable will "close its OTT platform after failing to secure football rights for the new season." Tedi-TV will shut on Aug. 31 with Telecable pointing customers toward beIN Sports, which will carry the matches and is available on its platform (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 8/18).

One Championship partnered with Singapore broadcaster Mediacorp. The broadcaster's free-to-air channel, OktoSports, will cover One Championship's live events. Full coverage and "catch-up" will be available on its OTT platform, Toggle (THE DRUM, 8/18).