European Rugby Champions Cup matches will be shown live on free-to-air TV in the U.K. and Ireland next season for the first time since '03, according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. European Professional Club Rugby is reportedly "on the verge of striking a deal" with Channel 4 and Irish station TV3 to bring European Cup matches back to terrestrial TV. The deal will involve at least one match being shown on Channel 4 and TV3 during each of the six pool stages and "may also include some of the knock-out stages." The tournament is currently shared between BT Sport and Sky Sports. However, EPCR indicated last summer it was "keen to accept bids for some limited free-to-air coverage in order to boost the profile of the tournament." An announcement to confirm the Channel 4 and TV3 deal "is expected next month." Negotiations are "currently focusing on the complex selection process for the pick of games each weekend" (TELEGRAPH, 3/15).
The FA awarded SilverHub Media UK Ltd. and Shutterstock, Inc. an exclusive multi-year agreement to cover photography, distribution and syndication services around key events and activities. SilverHub and Shutterstock will capture real-time photography of FA and Wembley Stadium events including all men's and women's national teams, the FA Cup and the Women's Super League. Additional Wembley Stadium-hosted events covered will include the closing stages of Euro 2020, NFL games and music and entertainment events. The agreement will also grant exclusive access to off-the-field events including behind-the-scenes access to the men's England national team leading up to this summer's World Cup. Photography captured by SilverHub will be made available for licensing to int'l media via Shutterstock's global distribution platform (FA).
ONE Championship partnered with Chinese media company Great Sports Media, whose Shanghai Media Group Inc. will air "all live ONE Championship events in conjunction with a weekly magazine show." The two companies will also collaborate "throughout the foreseeable future." GSM talents Ni Tianqi and Zhuang Ningyu were added to the ONE broadcast team as Chinese language cageside commentators (MMA CROSSFIRE, 3/14).
World Rugby secured the .rugby web domain name on a global basis and will launch it across its properties. World Rugby will change to "World.Rugby" as part of the digital rebrand and the .rugby domain name will also be available to unions, regional associations and key stakeholders. The domain name was secured by World Rugby for the benefit of the global rugby community and opens the door to a single global digital identity (World Rugby).
BeIN Media Group rejected the $22.7M fine set by the Egyptian Competition Authority and upheld this week by the Cairo economic court. The company said, "At all times, beIN has acted in full compliance with all relevant laws, including competition law, and will pursue all legal means available to challenge the judgement." BeIN added that the "unfounded allegations" have no basis in competition law and the regulator was "acting without authority" (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 3/15).