Cricket Australia partnered with sports filmmaker Peter Dickson to produce a three-part Ashes film series titled "Forged in Fire." To be broadcast nationally on Nine during the '17-18 Ashes Series, "Forged in Fire" will bring together the protagonists from the last 50 years of the Ashes. The film was produced and directed by documentary filmmaker Dickson, whose most recent Australian Football League documentary, "The Final Draw," received several awards (CA).
La Liga President Javier Tebas said that the "political upheaval from Catalonia’s proposed split from Spain has held up negotiations" to renew the league's int'l TV rights deals, according to Richard Martin of REUTERS. Tebas said, "When you are selling something you need to know it's the right moment and we decided now is not the moment to sell our television rights. We are not just selling them in Spain and Europe -- we have to think about India, Singapore, Turkey and other countries, so we've delayed it by a few weeks. It might be better in the long run as now is not a good time." Tebas "has repeatedly declared his opposition to Catalonia's drive for independence." He conceded that "Barcelona’s hypothetical departure would have a big impact on the league's coffers." Tebas: "La Liga would lose around 20 percent of its income if Real Madrid or Barcelona left. We're talking about a problem that could have a huge impact on our competition, even though I don’t think (Catalonia splitting from Spain) will occur. ... The problem of independence is not new. It’s been there for a long time. We decided that given everything that is being said in international media it was the time to take a pause. In a couple of weeks the issue will be settled" (REUTERS, 10/17).
GUARDIOLA SENDS MESSAGE: ESPN.com's Adriana Garcia reported Man City Manager Pep Guardiola dedicated his team's 2-1 Champions League win over Napoli to "two pro-Catalan independence leaders imprisoned since Monday in Madrid for charges of sedition." The former Barcelona manager, who has been "actively involved in the political campaign for pro-Catalan independence, had words of support" for Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leaders of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, respectively. He said, "It's a good time to dedicate them this win. We have shown in Catalonia that citizenship is bigger than any ideas" (ESPN.com, 10/18). In London, Paul Hirst reported the Spanish government "hit back" at Guardiola. Spanish government spokesperson Íñigo Méndez de Vigo said, "His opinion on politics is like mine on nuclear physics. Guardiola’s opinions about politics are his and I don’t share them" (LONDON TIMES, 10/18).
The Volvo Ocean Race and global distribution agency Sunset+Vine announced their initial list of broadcast partners in advance of this year's race, which starts on Sunday. Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Samsung will provide race content, while Spain (TVE/Teledeporte), Portugal (RTP), Brazil (TV Brasil), France (Sport+), South Africa (SuperSport), Australia (Fox Sports), New Zealand (Sky NZ), the U.K. (Sky Sports) and the Netherlands (NOS) all feature national channels or premier sports broadcasters covering the nine-month race. Other int'l broadcasters include J-Sport (Japan), Sport TV (Turkey), TG4 (Ireland) and TV3 Sport (Sweden). On the digital side, Sunset+Vine delivered partnerships for the race with platforms such as Sina.com (China), Twitter, Tencent (China), Aftonbladet Sport (Sweden), Samsung (Asia) and OutsideTV.com (U.S.) to bring the race's content to smartphones, desktops and tablets. The TV programming will consist of a one-hour race preview, nine 30-minute leg summary shows and a one-hour race review in Aug. '18 for seven hours of TV coverage (Volvo Ocean Race).
Barcelona and Verizon go90 announced a year-long content partnership giving Barça fans in the U.S. access to the club. Every week for the next year, go90 will exclusively air "Inside Barça," which goes behind the scenes of the club and the lives of players like Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué. The show, which is available exclusively on mobile devices, has aired every Friday since September. Go90 Chief Content Officer Ivana Kirkbride said, "Go90 and Barça share a similar objective: support the growth of soccer fandom in the United States by providing access and opportunity to fans like never before" (Barcelona).
BT is "seeking entrepreneurs and start-ups to help it innovate around fan engagement and bringing viewers closer to the action during its sports coverage," according to Matthew Chapman of CAMPAIGN LIVE. The telecom is "running a BT Infinity Lab competition to find ideas," and the winner will be trialed on BT Sport and "could partner with BT on further ideas, original tech and the overall TV viewing experience." It represents the second time BT Sport has run the BT Infinity Lab competition. The previous winner, crowd-sourced video app Seenit, "plays a recurring role on BT Sport's Premier League Tonight Show." The next winner will also receive a six-month membership at flexible workspace company TechHub. Entries are "encouraged to focus on disrupting traditional broadcast approaches by capturing in-venue experiences, encouraging interaction between sports fans, making live sports more accessible for impaired viewers, or implementing new technologies such as virtual reality" (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 10/18).
Eurosport and Snapchat reached a strategic advertising and content agreement for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, providing Olympic action to Snapchatters across Europe through professionally-curated content on Snap's Discover platform. It marks the first time Snap has committed to a European, multi-language deal for Olympics coverage (Eurosport).
ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery Communications launched their joint streaming service under the brand 7TV in Germany. The companies "want to expand their 7TV partnership and plan, for example, a Eurosport Zone with selected sports highlights and clips" (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 10/16).
Bayern Munich fans "can now take a screenshot photo" with the team's players, courtesy of a newly-introduced augmented reality feature on the club's official mobile app. Fans can use their mobile device camera on any flat surface to make team captain Manuel Neuer or forward Arjen Robben appear, "giving them the option to jump in to take a picture" (THE DRUM, 10/18).
Matchroom Sport announced the formation of Matchroom Multi Sport, a division of the company responsible for major events across eight different sports. The new division promotes tournaments which encourage participation and broaden the audience of a wide array of sports, including the Mosconi Cup, the Weber Cup and Fish'O'Mania (Matchroom Sport).