UEFA "wasted no time" securing its first media deals for its newly-announced Nations League competition with China’s Super Sports Media "stepping up to acquire exclusive digital media rights to the competition in China" for the '18-19 and '20-21 editions of the competition, according to Paul Nicholson of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. The Nations League will "replace the bulk" of the int'l friendlies currently played in Europe with a competition format that "will see the nations of similar ability play against each other more often." The competition, beginning in '18, will divide the 55 UEFA nations into four leagues with each league divided into three- or four-team groups. Each league "will culminate with a semifinal and final with the winner of each securing a spot" at Euro 2020. No value has been given for the Super Sports rights acquisition (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 9/25).
French TV channel C8 will broadcast a Counter-Strike esports tournament on Sunday and Monday nights during a 10-week “eSports European League,” according to L’ÉQUIPE. It is not the first time esports have been shown on French TV, but it is “far from ordinary” for C8 to show Counter-Strike. The game’s “violent nature has already closed some doors in Europe.” Tournament production company Kido Productions co-Producer Alexandre Balkany said, “We think that Counter-Strike is adapted to be shown on TV. The idea is not to promote a violent game, we think people can see the difference. There are a lot of movies and shows that show terrorism. I do not see the difference. It is an esport competition with strategy, with teams that train.” The tournament will consist of six teams, five of which are French (L’ÉQUIPE, 9/24).
Eleven Sports secured live rights to Serie A in Italy. The platform will show three games live every matchweek on mobile, tablet and online as part of a pay offer for fans across the country. The partnership begins on Sunday with the Napoli-Cagliari, Benevento-Inter Milan and AC Milan-AS Roma matches, which will be supplemented by pre- and post-match analysis from former players, football experts and journalists. The matches will be priced individually for €1.99 ($2.36) or all three matches for €3.99 ($4.72). Italy became Eleven Sports' seventh market when the company acquired OTT platform Sportube in May (Eleven Sports).
The 2017 Int'l Ice Hockey World Championship, held from May 5-21 in Cologne and Paris, secured more TV coverage and a bigger TV audience than ever before. The competition generated a record of more than 8,300 hours of TV coverage, which is almost double that of five years ago. Infront Sports & Media revealed a total TV audience of 1.297 billion for this year's edition. This tops the '16 record by 36 million and is an approximately 30% increase since '12. Overall, the event aired in 166 territories across the globe, with Germany's Sport1 attracting a peak audience of 2.4 million to watch Germany beat Latvia to reach the quarterfinals. This was the highest-ever number for an ice hockey game broadcast by Sport1. The competition also attracted record crowds. The six games held on May 13 set a record for daily attendance, with a total of 82,897 fans. Over the course of the competition, more than 686,000 spectators attended the games (Infront).
After breaking attendance records for a women's sporting event in Europe this year, Sunday's All-Ireland Senior Football Championship women's final between Dublin and Mayo also set new TG4 records with an average of 303,800 people tuning in -- "the highest figure since the station started broadcasting women's finals" in '01. Viewing peaked at 5:24pm when 409,700 people were tuned in. The broadcast reached 563,000 viewers in total (IRISH TIMES, 9/25).
Modern Times Group acquired the exclusive Swedish and Norwegian media rights to the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals until '19. The broadcaster will air 10 ATP tournaments every year on streaming service Viaplay and pay-TV channels, beginning with the Shanghai Masters from Oct. 7-15.
German TV channel Sport1 will continue to show motor racing series ADAC GT Masters for the next three years. The broadcaster renewed its collaboration with race organizer ADAC and obtained the exclusive TV rights for Germany and the co-exclusive TV rights for Austria and Switzerland. Financial details were not disclosed (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 9/24).
Fight Channel World HD is now available on more than 10 platforms in Bulgaria. This follows its launch on cable network New Dream Ltd., "where it is being offered in the basic tier." Fight Channel World HD is currently available in Austria, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, the Netherlands, Australia, South Africa, the Philippines, Israel, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 9/25).
Lagardère Sports renewed an agreement with the Asian Table Tennis Union to market the media rights of all ATTU events worldwide, excluding the host territorty. The deal, which will run from '18-21, will see Lagardère Sports distribute ATTU's package of rights across multiple media platforms (Lagardère Sports).