TV3 secured the exclusive Irish rights to the Champions League and the Europa League finals "and many of the competition matches for the next three years," according to Taylor & Hamilton of the IRISH TIMES. The broadcaster, which was acquired by Virgin Media in '15, won the rights to all Wednesday UEFA Champions League matches, all Thursday UEFA Europa League matches and the finals of both competitions as of next season. Virgin Media said that it has Irish-exclusive rights to 327 matches across both competitions per season and will also share rights for 16 Tuesday night Champions League matches. The deal "will be considered a big win for the broadcaster, which also outbid RTÉ for the rights to broadcast rugby’s Six Nations Championship for four years" in Nov. '15. While it is "unclear how Virgin will deliver this volume of matches, it is believed that there will be no pay-per-view element." The company "may opt to provide some coverage via a red button or online streaming." Virgin is expected to provide an update in the coming weeks (IRISH TIMES, 5/15).
Formula 1 apologized to fans for "problems with an already-delayed F1 TV streaming service at its launch in Spain last weekend," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Fans were complaining on social media from early in the weekend that the product to which they had subscribed "suffered from buffering and other issues that rendered it unwatchable." F1 acknowledged on its official website that it suffered "some live playback issues" at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya and apologized for the "inconvenience." Subscribers were offered a refund, with F1 saying that "this weekend was on us." Managing Dir Ross Brawn said, "Apologies to our fans, but we are dragging our sport from a place where none of these initiatives previously existed and we will get there." F1 also launched its Twitter Live show and F1 Vision, a handheld device on which fans at the circuit can follow the race, in Barcelona (REUTERS, 5/15).
For the third year in a row, the Champions League final will be free to watch on TV and online as Liverpool and Real Madrid "go head to head" in Kiev, according to Samuel Lovett of the London INDEPENDENT. The Europa League final between Atlético Madrid and Marseille "will similarly be available to watch at no cost." Fans can watch both games on BT Sport 2, BT Sport 2 HD and in ultra-high definition on BT Sport 4K UHD, or online via BTSport.com or the BT Sport app, as well as on YouTube. Atlético will face Marseille on Wednesday, while the CL final is scheduled for May 26 (INDEPENDENT, 5/15). In London, Kieran Gill reported BT Sport attracted 6.5 million viewers across all platforms for last year's final between Real Madrid and Juventus, but is expecting an increase this month "given the involvement of an English side." The broadcaster said that its Champions League viewing figures this season "are already up" by 47% (DAILY MAIL, 5/15).
Customers who signed up for an illegal streaming service for Premier League football "could be left out of pocket after it folded," according to Sean Seddon of CHRONICLE LIVE. EPL execs "have gone after the people behind Ace IPTV," a subscription service which allowed people to "watch matches illicitly on devices like Kodi boxes." Its owners, Craig Driscoll and Ian Isaac, were taken to court and have been forced to liquidate the business after agreeing to pay £600,000 ($810,200) for breaching copyright laws. The league accused the pair of "various attempts to hide their identities and evade detection" despite being contacted by the league. As part of the settlement with the Premier League, Ace IPTV "terminated all subscriptions," meaning that subscribers who pre-paid "significant sums" have been left "out of pocket." It is part of a "wider crackdown on illegal streaming." The Premier League has "pursued action which has resulted in 215,000 streams and 450,000 clips being taken down" (CHRONICLE LIVE, 5/14).
FC Diez Media, IMG and Perform’s joint venture set up to advise CONMEBOL on its commercial rights for club competitions from '19-22, is tendering the media rights for the Copa Sudamericana and the Recopa until June 6. This is the first time Sudamericana rights have been made available through a tender process and sold separately from the Copa Libertadores. The tender will be divided into two territories -- Brazil and the rest of Latin America, which includes the nine other CONMEBOL countries in South America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. There will be two available packages, one offering first pick of matches with the final exclusively, and the other featuring the second pick of games with exclusive rights to the Recopa. All information will be issued on both the CONMEBOL and FC Diez Media websites.
Después del susto que nos hemos llevado todos esta mañana, quiero enviar un mensaje de apoyo y ánimo a todos los que estábamos hoy allí y esperar que los heridos se recuperen lo antes posible. Un abrazo a todos. @Chester_cuatro— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) May 15, 2018
A stand collapsed on the temporary set of Risto Mejide's TV show, "Chester," with "at least 18 people having suffered minor injuries." The TV presenter was in Barcelona to interview Andrés Iniesta, "but the show was halted when the removable stand collapsed." An investigation was launched to "determine the cause of the accident" (MARCA, 5/15). Iniesta tweeted, "After the scare that we had this morning, I want to send a message of support and encouragement to all who were there today and I hope that those who were injured recover as soon as possible. A hug to all"
Bayern Munich announced its first int'l content-sharing agreement with ESPN. The alliance gives ESPN the rights to use and share the club's content in English and Spanish across its digital and linear platforms. Bayern Munich will provide video, features and reports for use across ESPN programs in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean (Bayern Munich).
BBC Sport announced its punditry team for this summer's World Cup, with Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Pablo Zabelata among the former players leading its coverage in Russia. Using a fictional WhatsApp conversation "reminiscent of Aston Villa's John Terry unveiling last year," the BBC announced its new signings "in a series of tweets on Tuesday." Host Gary Lineker will be assisted by Lampard, Drogba and Zabaleta as well as Rio Ferdinand and Jürgen Klinsmann (London TELEGRAPH, 5/15).
Sports media rights agency RDA was appointed as the exclusive agent for the Super League's int'l distribution rights (excluding the U.K., Ireland and France) via a deal agreed with global rights owner Sky covering '18-21. RDA also acquired rights from the Rugby Football League for England's three-test home series against New Zealand this autumn (RUNNING RUGBY, 5/15).
Developer Codemasters will launch the F1 2018 video game on Aug. 24 on Playstation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. It promised an "expanded career mode" and more classic cars following player feedback (MOTORSPORT, 5/15).