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Volume 7 No. 149


A decision by A-League expansion side Western United not to incorporate the word "Melbourne" in its name could cost Football Federation Australia A$5M ($3.5M) in annual TV rights after it "opened the door for Fox Sports to challenge its obligation to increase broadcast payments," according to Dominic Bossi of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Fox Sports is reportedly "seeking to avoid paying" a 9% increase on its broadcast deal in June '21 despite being "contractually obliged" to contribute an additional A$5M if two new teams were introduced to the A-League from Sydney and Melbourne. However, several sources suggested the pay-TV provider is intending to withhold the revenue increase after the newest A-League side announced last week that it would compete under the name "Western United Football Club." It is understood representatives of Fox Sports argued to FFA that in "not being associated by name with Melbourne, Western United cannot be viewed as a team from the Victorian capital, rather as a regional club." FFA issued a "stern response to Fox Sports, arguing the name does not diminish its association" with Melbourne, citing Australian Football League side Western Bulldogs as an example. FFA reportedly "hoped to kill off the argument entirely" by pushing the new club to include the word "Melbourne" or references to the city in its yet-to-be-released logo. Sources said that FFA is "continuing to lobby the group to adapt a stronger association with the city before entering the competition" (SMH, 2/21).

Swiss sports channel Teleclub announced it retained the broadcast rights to televise NHL games in the country through the '21-22 season. Teleclub will have expanded exclusive broadcast rights with complete live coverage of NHL regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff games, including studio programming, the daily magazine show "NHL On the Fly," documentaries and more. Teleclub will continue to deliver up to four live game broadcasts per week throughout the regular season. All regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff games will be broadcast in English, with select games airing in German and French (NHL).

Spain-based Mediapro struck a 10-year deal with Canada Soccer Business, which represents Canada's national teams as well as the "fledgling" Canadian Premier League, which kicks off its inaugural season April 27. Mediapro is reportedly investing C$200M ($151M) over the lifetime of the deal (CP, 2/20).

BeIN Sports was linked with a possible acquisition by Canal+, French broadcaster Europe1 reported. The move "would bolster Canal’s sports rights and increase its subscriber base by a healthy 3.5 million." Canal+ Group would reportedly like to finalize the deal before the summer (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 2/20).