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Volume 10 No. 24

Media

Serie A "made a switch" and assigned its int'l TV rights predominantly to IMG for €371M ($439M) per season -- "nearly double the value of the previous deal," according to the AP. The agreement covers the next three Serie A seasons through '20-21. The previous deal was for €190M per season with MP & Silva. The new figure places Serie A third in Europe for int'l rights after the Premier League (€1.3B ($1.5B)) and La Liga (€636M ($754.4M)), and ahead of the Bundesliga (€240M ($284.7M)). IMG will pay €352M ($417M) for global rights and a betting package, Rai Int'l will provide €4M ($4.7M) for Italian-language rights abroad, and the remaining funds "will be covered by signal providers and league promotions" (AP, 10/11). ESPN.com's Ben Gladwell reported Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis said that he is "mortified" by the price agreed by Serie A for the sale of int'l TV rights. He said, "I'm very disappointed. Compared with what La Liga, the Premier League and the Bundesliga are earning, we still have to make up many years of ground lost due to big mistakes, when for many years our product was not even being seen abroad" (ESPN.com, 10/11).

The Premier League "is considering heading off a ratings war" with "Strictly Come Dancing" and "The X Factor" by stopping its biggest fixtures from being shown in prime time on Saturdays, according to Rumsby & Wallace of the London TELEGRAPH. Ahead of "the world’s richest league going out to tender" on its U.K. TV rights for the '19-22 seasons, EPL Exec Chair Richard Scudamore "also ruled out games being broadcast on Sunday mornings or Sunday nights under the new deal." But, in a meeting with supporter representatives on Tuesday, he confirmed there would be "more live Bank Holiday and midweek matches shown, including multiple games at the same time." Having committed to making at least half its 380 fixtures per season -- 22 more than currently -- "available for broadcast" following an investigation by media regulator Ofcom into how it sells its TV rights, the EPL has held talks with its clubs about "precisely when to schedule the additional matches." Some could be shown in a new Saturday 7:45pm slot, bringing them into "direct competition with the BBC and ITV’s two biggest ratings winners," respectively, "Strictly" and "The X Factor." Scudamore told fans that he was "skeptical about the appetite the likes of Sky Sports and BT Sport would have for such a clash." One clash the league "is prepared to entertain, however, is midweek matches going head to head under the new deal," even though that that could also dilute the number of viewers watching each game (TELEGRAPH, 10/10).

SCHEDULE CHANGE: In Manchester, Stuart Mathieson reported ManU's potential Christmas Eve match at Leicester City "has been scrapped." That game in Leicester "had been eyed as a box office draw on Sunday, December 24." The Leicester Mercury reported the controversial decision "has been dumped by Sky Sports" and the game will not be played on Christmas Eve (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 10/11).

A recent survey conducted by MatchPint and Sky found that 99% of sports fans said that "they would return to the same pub having watched live sport there," according to SKY SPORTS. The figure underlines the value of sport to landlords and "how they can use it to encourage customer loyalty." The same survey also revealed that 94% of sports fans prefer the atmosphere of their local pub for watching live sport. The pub continues to provide a "huge focal point for sports fans and the survey confirms that there is a massive opportunity for venues to use sport to make money." According to the research, twice as many sports fans "prefer to watch domestic football over European football at the pub" (SKY SPORTS, 10/11).

FIBA signed a five-year agreement with ESPN for the U.S. rights from '17-21. The network will broadcast all of the FIBA men's and women's continental cups as well as the FIBA World Cup 2019 qualifiers and FIBA Women's World Cup 2018. The agreement was brokered by FIBA Media, the strategic partnership between FIBA and Perform (FIBA).

Croatian Telekom is adding Fight Channel World HD to its "MAXtv To Go" TV Everywhere service. Fight Channel World HD has been added to the T-HT "MAXtv To Go" offer for smartphone, tablet and PC devices as part of the "MAXtv Sport Plus" package. T-HT already carries the HD channel in its IPTV and DTH channel lineup (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 10/11).

MySports, the new sports channel operated by UPC in Switzerland, will bring the first esports format to Swiss TV screens. From Oct. 23, episodes of the Arena eSports program "will be shown exclusively on the channel the Liberty Global subsidiary launched in September." The 30-minute show provides news on developments in the esports world and reports on esports events (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 10/11).

The World Cup qualifying match between France and Belarus, which France won 2-1, drew an average audience of 7.9 million on TF1. The match recorded a 30.8% market share and a peak audience of 9.6 million. France’s win secured its place in the ’18 tournament (L’ÉQUIPE, 10/11).