ATP and ATP Media announced two deals with Amazon Prime Video -- live and on-demand distribution rights to the ATP World Tour in the U.K. and Ireland, and the availability of Tennis TV on Amazon Channels in the U.S. Amazon Prime members in the U.K. and Ireland will have access to 37 ATP World Tour events on Amazon Prime Video from '19-23. Amazon will have exclusivity, outside of Tennis TV, to all ATP World Tour Masters 1000s, 12 of each of the 500s and 250s, and the Next Gen ATP Finals. Amazon will also become the ATP's exclusive third-party pay-TV partner for the season-ending ATP Finals at The O2 in London, the Queen's Club Championships and the Eastbourne Int'l, with the latter two starting in '18. In addition to live coverage, Prime members will have on-demand access to completed matches, highlights, tournament review shows, press conferences and additional original content. Tennis TV, ATP Media's direct-to-consumer streaming service, offers subscriptions via Amazon Channels for Prime members in the U.S. on a non-exclusive basis starting in '18 (ATP).
21st Century Fox denied a government witness' "allegation that its sports division paid bribes" to win TV rights for int'l football tournaments, according to Patricia Hurtado of BLOOMBERG. Fox said in a statement that it "had no operational control of the business" that a former sports marketing exec was referring to in his testimony in a U.S. corruption trial. The statement said, "Any suggestion that Fox Sports knew of or approved of any bribes is emphatically false." The former marketing exec, Alejandro Burzaco, "implicated some of the world's biggest broadcasters," including Brazil's Globo and Mexico's Televisa, in corruption in football TV rights during a trial of three former FIFA execs. The allegations "come at a sensitive time for Fox." The media company "is trying to persuade U.K. regulators to allow the acquisition of full control" of Sky. The U.K.'s Competition & Markets Authority "is looking into issues of corporate culture at Fox, including sexual harassment allegations at Fox News," as part of its review of a $15.4B bid for the rest of Sky. Globo's press office in Brazil "denied the allegations and any wrongdoing." The company said that it does not "make or tolerate any bribe payments." It added that it "conducted internal investigations" and concluded that no payments that had not been specified in contracts were made. Televisa said in a statement that it "in no way knew of, or condoned, any bribe or other improper conduct" (BLOOMBERG, 11/15).
ITV "made a statement of intent ahead of the 2018 World Cup by adding Gary Neville" to its punditry team for the tournament, according to Charlie Ecclestone of the London TELEGRAPH. The former England and ManU defender "has established himself" as the U.K.'s "most well-respected pundit with his forthright views and detailed analysis" on Sky Sports. Neville, who played in the 1998 and 2006 World Cups, will join ITV's main football presenter, Mark Pougatch, in Russia, along with a team of fellow pundits including his former ManU teammate Ryan Giggs, Ian Wright and Lee Dixon. The deal to work for ITV during the World Cup "was made in agreement with Sky Sports," which has agreed to let Neville "work elsewhere" during the EPL offseason. ITV's full World Cup lineup "will be announced closer to the tournament" (TELEGRAPH, 11/16).