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Volume 7 No. 149


The Six Nations unions are reportedly "in advanced discussions" about a secret deal to revolutionize the broadcasting rights of test rugby in Europe in a move that would "scupper controversial plans for a World League," according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. It is understood that the six unions have held talks about a proposal to pool the broadcasting rights of all their home fixtures across the year, including the Six Nations and autumn Test series, to "dramatically increase their value" using an EPL model. If an agreement is reached, it would "effectively end plans by World Rugby for a global league," which were further debated at a meeting in L.A. last month. That model is based on all the leading test nations "pooling their broadcasting and commercial rights." The threat of the plan "is such that" in L.A., "it was agreed that any independent rights negotiations that had the potential to adversely impact the project would be paused" until the unions had received the final proposal and made their decision. This position "was also endorsed" at World Rugby's exec committee. The project reflects the considerable skepticism within the Home Unions about the World League plans. It "is understood not to include the rights" for British & Irish Lions tours, which are "traditionally sold by the host nation in the southern hemisphere," nor affect the current broadcasting deals for the European Champions Cup, given the involvement of the independently-owned English and French clubs. It is also unlikely to threaten the Six Nations' publicly-stated desire to keep the Championship on terrestrial TV (TELEGRAPH, 2/13).

The European Tour secured a long-term partnership with Sina Sports for the exclusive digital broadcast rights to all European Tour events. Sina Sports will livestream all European Tour tournaments exclusively on all Sina Sports platforms, effective immediately until the end of the '21 season. The tour features Chinese golfers Li Haotong and Wu Ashun. Sina Sports' newly-created in-house digital media agency will manage the European Tour’s official social media assets in China, including its Weibo and WeChat accounts (European Tour).

Rugby fans "appeared to move past the axing of the Western Force and switch back on to Super Rugby last year," with a 9% uplift in average audience across Australia. But with the move from five franchises to four, the competition's pay-TV audience in the big cities "languished just below the A-League," providing further impetus, on the eve of the new season, for Australia to "push for change in the next broadcast cycle." The five-nation provincial competition "also continued to fall well below its winter rivals" the Australian Football League and National Rugby League (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/14).

Chile's Pablo Larraín, an Oscar-winning director, will produce a Mexican true crime series based on the events behind the '15 "FIFA Gate" corruption scandal (ENGADGET, 2/14).

Paywizard was selected for the onboarding of customers for BT Sport’s PPV events over the Sky platform (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 2/14).

Eurosport Romania secured a three-year agreement with the EPL from the '19-20 season. The deal follows the network's recent acquisition of FA Cup rights until '21 (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 2/14).

On Monday, RTL and the Luxembourg Football Federation extended their partnership for four years. The deal was first signed in '06 (RTL).