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Volume 7 No. 128


Israeli TV will broadcast the 2018 FIFA World Cup with Arabic commentary for the first time, offering free coverage of world football's "most prestigious competition to the Jewish state's Arabic-speaking neighbors," according to Eytan Halon of the JERUSALEM POST. The Israel Foreign Ministry's Arabic-language Facebook page announced the Israel Broadcasting Corp. (Kan) will broadcast the games via satellite in Arabic for free, "thereby breaking a Qatari monopoly on World Cup coverage in Arabic that has proved unaffordable for many in the Middle East." According to online newspaper Egypt Independent, Kan purchased the broadcasting rights for approximately $7.8M and will rival beIN Sports' TV coverage of the World Cup in countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Although one Egyptian TV commentator described the Israeli move as a welcome "slap in the face for Qatar" over the weekend, "underlining the ongoing diplomatic crisis between the two Arab countries," others were "less impressed." Egyptian TV anchor Ahmed Mussa "warned viewers of the danger that Israel could transmit messages to the Arab world through its broadcasts." Mussa said, "There's no difference -- Israel and Qatar are both enemies for me" (JERUSALEM POST, 3/13). The TIMES OF ISRAEL reported though Egypt qualified for the tournament, "along with Morocco, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, the country did not purchase the rights to broadcast the games" (TIMES OF ISRAEL, 3/13). THE JEWISH CHRONICLE reported the move is "unlikely to be welcomed by beIN Sports." It is "unclear how much of the Middle East would be covered by the channel's transmission range, but satellite dishes in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt can routinely pick up Israeli broadcasts" (THE JEWISH CHRONICLE, 3/13).

World Surf League tells cameramen not to zoom in on surfers like Tyler Wright.
Photo: tom bennett/world surf league

Female surfers "wearing high-cut bikini bottoms have been given reassurance" their backsides will not be "broadcast around the world" -- at least not close-ups, according to the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. The World Surf League attempted to "get out in front of the #metoo movement" by asking the camera people filming its events "not to zoom in on competitors," according to Stab Magazine. The magazine wrote, "The World Surf League met on the Gold Coast during the Quiksilver Pro and sexual harassment was the number one topic for their human resource department. The meeting was a refresher on the rules and responsibilities of all WSL employees, a scenario taking place at big businesses around the world. ... All cinematographers have been instructed to exercise discretion while shooting the women's heats. Cinematographers must be careful to be zoomed out during bottom turns or duck dives. A live broadcast means there is no time for editing so all camera operators need to use common sense when shooting" (NZ HERALD, 3/13). When contacted regarding the report, a WSL spokesperson said, "The WSL regularly trains its staff in code of conduct and employee enhancement programs. We hold our staff, content and organization to high standards across the board" (Travis Ostrander, SBD Global).

WSL GETS BOOST: IT WIRE's Alex Zaharov-Reutt reported WSL and Boost Mobile announced "a new partnership to ensure every heat and every event is available to fans." The companies said that "the partnership responds to the needs of data-hungry surf fans" (IT WIRE, 3/12).

The German Football League (DFL) "approved the use of virtual advertising technology" in the Bundesliga. The technology, produced by Supponor and Lagardère Sports, was trialed at the match between Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg on Feb. 26, "with an additional world feed outside the German-speaking area broadcast live for the first time in international markets." The virtual advertising technology "leverages additional advertising space through the creation of broadcast standard virtual overlays of physical perimeter boards" (SOCCEREX, 3/13).

Digital football platform Dugout and News Corp revealed plans for the acquisition by Dugout of News Corp's mobile and online platform ballball, which delivers near-live highlights of the world's leading football leagues and other content in southeast Asia. The move highlights Dugout's focus on expanding its global presence. Dugout's acquisition of ballball will see it showcase the platform's content in Vietnam and Indonesia (Dugout). 

A $22.7M fine levied against beIN sports and its Chair, Nasser al-Khalaifi, was "upheld by the Cairo Economic Court." The Egyptian Competition Authority said that the Qatari company "abused its position when transmitting its coverage of the main African football competitions." Rather than transmit the coverage on Egypt’s Nilesat satellite, viewers were "required to point their dishes at Qatar’s Suhail Sat satellite" (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 3/13).