Broadcasters warned that the value of TV contracts will "fall dramatically" if proposals for a "whistle to whistle" ban on gambling adverts are introduced, according to Matt Hughes of the LONDON TIMES. The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling is due to meet next week to finalize plans agreed upon by the leading bookmakers to "stop adverts for betting companies being shown during live sports coverage, which would prevent them being shown" during halftime. The broadcasters "are lobbying against the proposals because income from gambling adverts is integral to their business models," while Sky Sports and BT Sport have their own sponsorship agreements with bookmakers for their Premier League coverage. In addition, the English Football League is sponsored by SkyBet. While the new domestic TV deals for the Premier League and the EFL due to start next season -- worth almost £5B ($6.4B) and £595M ($757M), respectively -- "will not be threatened, broadcasters are clear that a loss of gambling revenue will be reflected in future contracts" (LONDON TIMES, 12/7).
SKEPTICS REMAIN: In London, Lawton & Lambert reported experts in the betting industry, as well as senior figures in broadcasting and football sponsorship, "remain unconvinced that the voluntary move, clearly made in response to government pressure, will have much impact." Premier League clubs "might actually profit from such a ban," according to one commercial director of an EPL club. With the exception of Brighton, all Premier League clubs "have a gambling partner." Some "have as many as five, and the money they earn from such partnerships forms a significant percentage of their revenue." The commercial director said, "But if your revenue is £200 million ($254.6M) a year, that's still a significant amount. And if there was a blanket ban on all gambling advertising like we've just seen in Italy, that could hurt even if it's only in the short term. However, clubs will look at today's developments and possibly see a chance to make more money. Because if bookmakers can no longer advertise on television, that potentially makes our advertising media at matches more valuable. Could clubs now charge more for the LED perimeter screens and other forms of gambling advertising at the game?" It is "unlikely to concern the gambling industry." One betting expert said, "Bookmakers spend five to six times more on digital advertising than they do on television advertising, so I suspect the net impact of this will be no change" (DAILY MAIL, 12/6).
Man City's Raheem Sterling criticized the treatment of young, black players in the media "for contributing to the racist abuse he allegedly received from a Chelsea fan" at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, according to Wilson & Munnery of the SUNDAY TIMES. A police investigation was launched after a spectator was caught on TV "apparently abusing Sterling as he went to retrieve the ball from the side of the pitch." Sterling said that "although he was not surprised to hear the alleged abuse screamed at him, the media were partly to blame for such incidents." He cited in an Instagram post "two examples of newspaper reports to highlight what he feels is unfair coverage of black football players, drawing the parallel" between that and Saturday's incident. The stories were about fellow Chelsea players Tosin Adarabioyo and Phil Foden buying houses for £2.25M ($2.9M) and £2M ($2.6M), respectively. Sterling said that both players "were buying the houses for their mothers but that detail was not mentioned in the story about Adarabioyo, who is black." In the Foden story, "it is in the headline." Sterling wrote, "I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point to [be] heard I will speak up. Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don't expect no better" (SUNDAY TIMES, 12/9). In London, Dominic Fifield reported footage was posted on social media of Chelsea supporters "leaning forward screaming obscenities and one fan allegedly subjecting him to racist abuse." Five stewards approached the fan in question "just before the final whistle and, having allowed him to watch the last few minutes of stoppage time, appeared to accompany him away from his seat at the end of the game." The police "have since confirmed no arrest was made." The incident came after a "troubling week for football" which saw a Tottenham supporter arrested for "throwing a banana skin at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang" during Arsenal’s win at the Emirates stadium. Two people were also arrested in Edinburgh on Saturday for "allegedly directing racial abuse" at Scottish Premiership side Motherwell’s Christian Mbulu during his side's loss to Heart of Midlothian (GUARDIAN, 12/9). In London, Luke Brown reported following Sterling’s post, anti-discrimination organization Kick It Out Chair Herman Ouseley "called on the game's leaders to address the incident at Stamford Bridge and the issues raised" by the Man City player. Ouseley: "What happened at Chelsea shows what is still going on in football. Where is (Premier League executive chairman) Richard Scudamore, where is (Football Association chairman) Greg Clarke, where is Chelsea's chairman (Bruce Buck) -- they should have been talking out last night and it has to be dealt with at the top." The FA pledged to deal with the matter "appropriately." It said in a statement, "We take all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and will work with the clubs and the relevant authorities to ensure this matter is dealt with appropriately" (INDEPENDENT, 12/9).
The NBA and China Mobile subsidiary Migu announced a multi-year partnership that will deliver NBA content to fans in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau across Migu and China Mobile's family of media brands. It is Migu's first partnership with a North American sports league. Migu and the NBA will work together to explore new technologies to enhance the viewing experience, including 4K resolution and virtual reality. The brand will also work with the NBA to grow the Jr. NBA in China. In Hong Kong and Macau, Migu will broadcast live NBA games. Migu will also carry NBA TV on its platforms (NBA).
The top four esports events of '18 -- the League of Legends World Championship Finals, ELEAGUE Major: Boston, The International, and the Overwatch League Finals -- attracted a total of 190.1 million hours watched across Twitch and YouTube Gaming, according to a Newzoo report. Additionally, the League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Dota 2 events’ combined live viewership represented a 6.9% year-over-year growth (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 12/6).
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German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF expanded their existing partnerships with Formula E to "show more live races in season five across their networks." ZDF will provide coverage of the Rome E-Prix while ARD will air both the Monaco E-Prix and the BMW i Berlin E-Prix. The new partnership -- brokered by Eurosport -- will see ARD and ZDF cover "at least two more races live" than in the '17-18 season, "with all remaining races streamed live across online platforms" (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 12/8).
Ziggo Sport renewed its exclusive broadcasting rights for the Premier League for three seasons. The deal includes the rights to live games and summaries on TV and the internet. The matches can be followed via Ziggo Sport, the "free channel for all digital Ziggo subscribers," and the Ziggo Sport Total payment package, which is available via all TV providers in the Netherlands (TELECOMPAPER, 12/7).