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Volume 6 No. 266


The full market value of Premier League football rights "has been predicted to surpass" the barrier of £10B ($14B) for the first time, "signaling that the allure of top flight TV" has not lost its luster in "the age of digital streaming," according to John Glenday of THE DRUM. Valuations "have been pushed northwards to ever more eye-popping extremes" courtesy of the arrival of new entrants to an "increasingly competitive market which have been steadily driving up the price." The latest calculations by Ampere Analysis show that the league can expect to earn between £5.3B ($7.4B) and £5.9B ($8.3B) for domestic three-year "live" rights, up from £5.13B ($7.2B) at the last time of asking. Such a result "would easily allow top tier clubs to generate" over £10B between them, with Ampere suggesting that the final figure could be £10.9B ($15.3B) once int'l rights "are thrown into the mix." One factor "which could skew the results even more" in favor of the Premier League is the "long-heralded arrival of Amazon" (THE DRUM, 1/23). BLOOMBERG's David Hellier reported Sky and BT "will need to shell out billions of pounds" to keep broadcasting English football. Sky "is likely to take four or five of the seven packages," with BT taking two or three and another bidder -- most likely Amazon or Liberty Global -- "taking one or two," Ampere’s Guy Bisson said. The Premier League is increasing the number of live games available "as it seeks to attract a wider pool of bidders" (BLOOMBERG, 1/23).

The signings of Saudi Arabian players by La Liga and Spanish second division clubs "has resulted in an average increase of nearly 3,600% in social media followers" per team, with interactions increasing by 159%, according to EL PERIÓDICO. The social media impact of La Liga's deal "has been examined by Blinkfire Analytics, which measures Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram." La Liga side Levante, which signed Fahad Muwallad, has added 30,299 followers since it announced the signing on Sunday. Taking into account "that the club's average growth per platform the week before was 230 followers, Levante's following increased by 13,073%." La Liga side Villarreal's following jumped by 7,615%, followed by Spanish second division club Rayo Vallecano (1,370%) and La Liga club Leganés (1,303%). La Liga's Arabic social media channels added 2,437 new followers, with interactions increasing by 39% (EL PERIÓDICO, 1/23).

The U.K.'s Competition & Markets Authority could block 21st Century Fox's proposed takeover of Sky after warning it is "not in the public interest" because it would give Rupert Murdoch and his family "too much control over Britain's news media," according to Jack Torrance of the London TELEGRAPH. Murdoch's company, which is set to be acquired by Disney, already owns 39% of Sky but tabled an £11.7B ($16.4B) bid to take full control in '16. Anne Lambert, who led the CMA's investigation, said that if the proposed takeover went ahead, "it would result in the Murdoch family having too much control over news providers in the UK, and too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda." However, the CMA found no issue with Fox's commitment to broadcasting standards, saying that "overall, Fox has a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards in the UK," having held licenses in the country for more than 20 years (TELEGRAPH, 1/23).

THREE OPTIONS: In London, Mark Sweney reported the CMA set out three options for the deal that should be considered in a new consultation: "that it is blocked, that Sky News is spun off or sold or that Sky News is insulated from the influence of the Murdoch family trust." Former Labour leader Ed Miliband, a "vitriolic Murdoch critic," said that any options other than blocking the deal give the Murdochs a "back door" to get the deal they want. Sky previously said that it will review the future of Sky News, which employs about 500 staff, if the deal is blocked because "closing it down would immediately eliminate media plurality issues blocking the deal" (GUARDIAN, 1/23). REUTERS' Sandle & Holton reported the British government, which will take the final decision on the deal, asked the CMA to judge "if Murdoch had too much influence in Britain and would uphold broadcasting standards." An objection on broadcasting standards would have "likely sounded the death knell for the deal." A hedge fund manager with a stake in Sky said, "Broadcasting standards is not an issue anymore. That's a pretty big positive." The manager cautioned, however, that it was "unclear how motivated the Murdochs were to secure the deal, seeing as they have already agreed to offload it to Disney" (REUTERS, 1/23).

FINAL SAY: In London, Spillett & Hawken reported the final decision over "whether to sink the deal" will be made by the end of May, when the regulator will send its report to new Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport Matt Hancock, who will make the final call. Hancock was a culture minister from July '16 before he was appointed to his current role, so he "has kept his counsel on the Sky issue" (DAILY MAIL, 1/23).

BeIN Sports retained the broadcast rights for La Liga in France from next season through ’21. The Qatari-owned broadcaster reportedly will pay €30M ($37M), on average, per year for the rights. This season, beIN Sports is paying €26M ($32M) for the La Liga rights. SFR Sport was interested in the tender "but was outbid by beIN," while Canal+ did not submit a bid (L’ÉQUIPE, 1/22).

Warc anticipates global adspend growth this year to "ring in at a healthy" 4.7%, or $572B. This is thanks to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup, U.S. mid-term elections and "reduced dollar volatility in emerging markets." Going by region, the factors listed will "contribute to stronger growth" in North America (5%), Asia-Pacific (6%) and Western Europe (2.6%) this year (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 1/23).

The British Basketball League signed a deal with FreeSports, which will broadcast 15 games for the remainder of the season. Starting with the BBL Cup Final on Sunday, the recently-launched free-to-air sports channel will show one game per week on either a Saturday or Sunday (Bristol Flyers). 

Eleven Sports secured the live and exclusive rights for the Euro 2020 qualifiers, the European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup and the inaugural UEFA Nations League in Belgium. For the Euro 2020 qualifiers and 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Eleven Sports will show matches from each matchday, including playoffs and other int'l friendlies. Matches featuring Belgium can be aired on a delayed basis (Eleven Sports). 

German cable operator Unitymedia will offer two Ultra HD services from pay-TV broadcaster Sky Deutschland from Jan. 30. Sky subscribers with the UHD recorder Sky+ will be able to receive Sky Sport Bundesliga UHD and Sky Sport UHD (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 1/23).

Sunday’s Ligue 1 match between Olympique Lyonnais and Paris St. Germain, which OL won 2-1, drew an average audience of 1.96 million viewers to Canal+. The match recorded a peak audience of 2.6 million. It was the second-best audience of the season for a Ligue 1 match (L’ÉQUIPE, 1/22).