• ESPN exits EMEA market, sells UK biz to BT

    Submitted by ITV Production on Feb 26

    MUMBAI: After exiting the Asian market post its stake sale in sports broadcasting joint venture to Rupert Murdoch?s News Corp, The Walt Disney Company owned sports network ESPN has now shut its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operations as it seeks to concentrate on its core market, US, where it has to battle an aggressive Fox Sports Network.

    ESPN has closed down ESPN Classic throughout the EMEA region and the non-UK ESPN America TV businesses.

    Like in Asia, ESPN will continue to own and operate its existing digital media businesses which include multisport news and information portal ESPN.co.uk, ESPNcricinfo (cricket), ESPNFC (football), ESPNscrum (rugby), ESPNF1 (Formula 1) and broadband streaming service ESPN Player. ESPN Classic has been excluded from the proposed transaction.

    The BT Group, which is launching sports channels in UK in summer, has decided to acquire ESPN?s UK and Ireland TV channels business. These primarily comprise the ESPN and ESPN America channels and their live sports rights portfolio, including the FA Cup, Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League, UEFA Europa League, and the German Bundesliga.

    ESPN had been mulling for quite some time to exit UK ever since it lost the lucrative English Premier League (EPL) rights to BT last year. The British telecom major had last year bagged EPL rights for ?246 million.

    The transaction is expected to complete on 31 July after which BT will continue to operate at least one ESPN-branded channel which is expected to form part of the BT Sport TV package that will be launched by BT this summer.

    Additionally, the deal will allow BT to continue to show a host of US sports currently shown on ESPN America, including NCAA College Basketball, NCAA College Football and NASCAR. The ESPN channels will be broadcast from BT Sport?s new home in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. Until completion, the service for current subscribers to the ESPN channels across all television platforms remains unchanged.

    The deal will enable BT Sport customers to see live coverage of the FA Cup for the 2013/14 season, the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League until the end of the 2016/17 season and the UEFA Europa League and German Bundesliga through to the end of the 2014/15 season.

    These join the broadcast rights that BT Sport has previously announced, including 38 live Barclays Premier League matches - including 18 of the top clashes - in each of the next three seasons (beginning August 2013); 69 live Aviva Premiership Rugby matches for the next four seasons; and up to 800 hours per season of live women?s tennis, including the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships.

    BT Retail chief executive of television Marc Watson said, "We are delighted to have reached agreement with ESPN for the acquisition of their UK channels business and that we have been able to add some exciting new sports rights to the ones we already have.

    "The FA Cup, Scottish Premier League and Europa League rights will allow us to offer customers of BT Sport even more quality live football, including our first games from the Scottish top flight and our first European competition rights. There will also be the best of US sports available courtesy of this deal, which will further broaden the appeal of BT Sport."

    ESPN - Europe, Middle East and Africa MD Ross Hair said, "We could not be more proud of the TV channels built and nurtured by our talented team over the past four years. The value of that hard work is reflected in this deal with BT and the continuation of ESPN on television screens across the UK and Ireland. The same passion, commitment and innovation will be at the heart of how we develop our strong digital media business into the future."

  • Uefa concludes media rights deal in Switzerland and Croatia

    Submitted by ITV Production on May 11
    indiantelevision.com Team

    MUMBAI: Swiss pay television operator Teleclub has been awarded the Uefa Champions League and Uefa Europa League media rights starting 2012 on a platform-neutral basis running till 2015.

    For the Uefa Champions League, the commercial operator will broadcast all live matches across the Teleclub Sport pay channels, as well as a highlights programme each match night.

    Each matchweek, Teleclub will also screen at least two Uefa Europa League live matches per kick-off slot as well as a highlights programme.

    All rights have been granted on a platform-neutral basis, with the rights being exploited on the Internet ? via tdm.com.mo and on mobile.

    For Croatia, the media rights for Uefa Europa League has been awarded to Hrvatski Telekom till 2015. Hrvatski Telekom has been awarded all rights in Croatia for the Uefa Europa League, except for the best live match each match week.

    One live match per kick-off slot as well as a weekly highlights programme will be broadcast on basic tier channel Arena Sport 1. In addition, three live matches per kick-off slot will be shown on the Arena Sport family of channels each match week.

    All rights have been granted on a platform-neutral basis with Hrvatski Telekom also exploiting on the Internet, via tportal.hr, and on mobiles.

    This announcement follows the recent award of the rights for the best match and highlights each match week to Hrvatska Radiotelevizija and concludes the sale of the Uefa Europa League media rights in the territory.

    Team Marketing is the exclusive marketing agency of Uefa for the exploitation of certain media and commercial rights relating to the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and Uefa Europa League.

  • Uefa finalises broadcast deals in France

    Submitted by ITV Production on Apr 11
    indiantelevision.com Team

    MUMBAI: Uefa said Wednesday it has reached agreement with TF1, M6 and beIN Sport for the media rights for the forthcoming Uefa Euro 2012 and Uefa Euro 2016 in France.

    TF1 and M6 will share the free-to-air coverage of 19 live matches for Uefa Euro 2012 and 22 live matches for Uefa Euro 2016. These matches will include the opening match, all French national team matches, knock-out stage matches and the final for both tournaments.

    beIN Sport will be the home of the Uefa European Football Championships by covering the two competitions in their entirety and showing all matches from Uefa Euro 2012 and 2016.

    Magazines and highlights programmes will also be broadcast on the beIN Sport channels leading up and during the tournament, meaning that football fans in France will be offered an extensive and innovative broadcast platform to watch both competitions.

    All matches will also be available online and on-the-move through the broadcasters? digital media outlets.

    Uefa Events SA Marketing Director Guy-Laurent Epstein said, "TF1 and M6 have experience in broadcasting national team football and UEFA European Football Championships while beIN Sport will offer a wide and qualitative coverage of both tournaments. These agreements will provide French football fans with a fantastic multi-platform broadcast of this summer?s competition in Poland and Ukraine and in 2016 in their own country.?

    Uefa Euro 2016
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