There "are fears" that the Premier League's Big Six will "make a more forceful attempt to grab a bigger share" of the league's overseas TV cash after the value of its domestic deal "fell for the first time," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. The outcome of the triennial auction for the U.K. rights to "the world’s richest league" put some of its 14 other clubs "on alert for the resurrection" of ManU, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Man City’s bid to "change the way broadcast revenues are distributed among teams." There is "even concern that if the current top six do not get their way, they will refuse to allow" their TV rights to be sold collectively when the U.K. deal "next comes up for renewal in three years’ time and will instead seek to go to market individually." Domestic TV money is "already divided meritocratically and the Big Six argue it is unfair for that not to be the case for the remainder of the league’s broadcast revenue," as well as claiming it is "their own popularity abroad which has driven up" the league's value (TELEGRAPH, 2/14).
PRESSURE'S ON: In London, Christopher Williams reported the "Murdoch clan" is under "mounting pressure" to increase its takeover bid for Sky in the wake of the broadcaster's "successful" EPL rights auction. Sky "retained its status as the dominant Premier League broadcaster" and slashed its annual bill by nearly £200M ($282M), "prompting renewed calls for a more generous offer from 21st Century Fox." Investors rushed to buy Sky shares "in the hope of making a quick profit" when the deal for the 61% of the company not controlled by the Murdoch family is completed. Analysts said that the value of Sky had been boosted by £2 ($2.82) per share by lower football costs (TELEGRAPH, 2/14).
The Premier League's "hopes of luring" a digital company such as Amazon for its two remaining TV packages are "made clear in its tender" for the '19-22 rights, according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. Amazon is understood to be one of the "multiple bidders" with which the Premier League is negotiating for the 40 games that remain available after its £4.464B ($6.29B) deal with Sky and BT Sport for the other 160 matches. The tender document promises that the league will help the broadcaster with "live transmission of simultaneous or overlapping matches" -- understood to mean it would be "able to stream the feed from the Premier League's own production company and avoid expensive production costs." Package F consists of 10 matches from a bank-holiday program and 10 from a midweek program. Package G comprises 20 matches covering two midweek programs (LONDON TIMES, 2/15).
A "high-profile" Cricket Australia delegation flew to the U.S. to meet the heads of the CBS network in the "hope of drumming up more interest in the next television deal," according to Peter Lalor of THE AUSTRALIAN. CA CEO James Sutherland and Exec GM Ben Amarfio are "part of the party" that also includes Ten Network execs. The American CBS network bought Ten last year after the broadcaster of the Big Bash League had "gone into voluntary administration." CA refused to comment on the int'l meetings. It is understood that deals for the domestic and int'l rights are "a long way" from being finalized. Rights negotiations are a "murky" business with parties asked to sign confidentiality agreements, but indications are that Nine and Ten are "reluctant to stump up the sort of money CA is hoping for." Industry experts believe sports rights are "not as valuable a commodity as they once were" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/16).
Fox Sports will "add a pair of panel shows to its live Supercars coverage this season." The "Inside Supercars" magazine show, which ran pre-race weekend for the last three seasons, will be dropped in favor of a new "Trackside" panel show. The focus "will switch to a more immediate preview and review format, with episodes book-ending the race weekend" (MOTORSPORT, 2/14).
The Champions League match on Wednesday between Paris St. Germain and Real Madrid, broadcast on beIN Sports, was watched by an average audience of 2.05 million viewers -- a record for the pay-TV channel. The match, which Real won 3-1, drew a peak audience of 2.3 million (L’ÉQUIPE, 2/15).
Sports channel MySports, which Swiss cable operator UPC launched in September, gained around 45,000 subscribers by the end of '17. The cable company intends to use the channel distributed exclusively on Swiss cable networks to "compete with Swisscom’s IPTV platform and to stop the decline in TV customers." The number of MySports distribution partners increased from 15 to 18 by the end of last year (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 2/15).
Polish esports organization Team Kinguin partnered with gaming hardware manufacturer Razer. The “long-term” partnership primarily focuses on product sponsorship, but also includes “product development and testing.” Kinguin is a digital marketplace for gaming items, focused on game keys (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 2/15). For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.