Channel 9 will make a loss on its summer of cricket "despite attracting more commercial interest to the Ashes than any other test series on record," according to Arvind Hickman of AD NEWS. In many ways, Australia's 4-0 "drubbing" of England has been a "huge success for Cricket Australia and host broadcaster Nine on and off the field." Nine's cumulative reach across the five-test series was 14.8 million people. However, despite "huge interest" in the Ashes, Nine has "not been able to convert sponsorship and spot advertising revenue into profit when the costs of broadcasting rights and production are taken into account." Nine pays Cricket Australia around A$100M ($79M) each year for the rights to broadcast test matches, one-day internationals and T20s in a deal that expires after this summer. Nine Dir of Sales Sam Brennan said, "Categorically, we will still make a loss on this season. Commercially, in isolation, I think it's been a pretty solid result, but the underlying factor is that we are losing money, which is an area we are slightly concerned about." Nine's admission that a home Ashes series -- "easily the most lucrative summer in a four-year cycle" -- is loss-making, underlines the challenges free-to-air broadcasters face in trying to monetize sport (AD NEWS, 1/11).
Corporate sponsors of the PyeongChang 2018 Games have been "warned to expect their hashtags to be hijacked by social media users looking to make political statements," according to Jennifer Duke of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Big-name brands sponsoring or partnering with sports events could find their social media strategies "increasingly co-opted by those keen to use viral hashtags for their own purposes," according to Deakin Business School faculty member Michael Naraine, who has seen a "rise in corporate concern since social media use ramped up during the 2012 London Olympics." He said that McDonalds "lost control" of its #CheersToSochi and #imlovingit hashtags on Twitter to "vitriol online" in Sochi. In '12, its #McDStories hashtag was also hijacked. Naraine: "It will be interesting to see how the political element surpasses the Games themselves, with the potential for sponsor hashtags to be used in posts about athlete safety, the likelihood of retaliation from North Korea and the omnipresence of U.S. President [Donald] Trump's threats." Major brands are "still intending to use hashtags as part of their Olympic Games promotions," with teams in place to monitor social media responses. A Facebook Australia spokesperson said that hashtags on Facebook and Instagram "may not be available" if they were consistently found to have content that did not "follow community standards." Twitter did not respond to a request for comment, but it is understood the company has an "anti-spam team" (SMH, 1/12).
Cosmote TV secured the exclusive rights to the Champions League and Europa League through '21. The Greek pay-TV platform will screen all 137 Champions League matches and 205 games from the Europa League and Super Cup (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 1/11).
With extensive perimeter advertising at the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Bayern Munich on Friday, eSports.com will officially launch its new platform, www.esports.com. ESports.com wants to become the biggest esports portal in the world (eSports.com).