Golf: Pay-television golf broadcaster the Golf Channel acquired the rights to the Asian Tour in North America, Latin America and Japan in deals with Asian Tour Media, the distributor of the tour’s media rights. The Golf Channel, owned by US media group NBC Universal, is available in 94 million homes in the three territories.
Ice Hockey: The Comcast-NBCU network and the National Hockey League extended their broadcasting rights agreement in the US for another ten years, from 2011-12 to 2020-21, in a deal worth around $2bn (€1.4bn), which represents the NHL’s biggest-ever television deal. NBC currently pays no rights fee but shares advertising revenue after production costs in its one-year deal, while the network’s sports cable channel Versus pays around $77.5m per year in its three-year contract from 2008-09 to 2010-11. The extension marks Comcast-NBCU’s first major deal since the cable operator acquired NBC Universal in January. Coverage will include 100 regular-season games per season to be shown on NBC and Versus. NBC will broadcast a national ‘Game of the Week’ along with its coverage of the Winter Classic and Hockey Day in America. Versus will show an exclusive national ‘Game of the Week’, plus Premiere Games, Faceoff, the All-Star Game and any future Heritage Classic outdoor games in Canada.
Mixed martial arts: Canadian speciality cable channel The Fight Network acquired the English-language broadcast rights for UK mixed martial arts promotion Cage Warriors Fighting Championship for up to eight live events this year.
Mixed martial arts: The Fox network’s cable channel Fuel TV signed a deal with US mixed martial arts promotion company, Shark Fights, to provide programming for its ‘Friday Fight Night’.
Motorsport: Croatian media company Kreator Group acquired the rights for Formula One in a three-year deal, from 2011 to 2013, with Formula One Management. Kreator will distribute the rights among a consortium of around 11 regional free-to-air broadcasters led by TV Plus. Kreator stepped in to agree the deal after FOM’s talks with pan-regional pay-television broadcaster Arena about a deal for Croatia and the surrounding countries for 2011 onwards broke down. Kreator’s deal was agreed late, beginning with the second grand prix of the 2011 season in Malaysia.
Motorsport: Nigerian terrestrial broadcaster consortium Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria acquired the rights for the 2011 Formula One world championship in a deal with the Ufa Sports agency, brokered by sports marketing company DBN. The deal began on March 27, the day of the first race of the season. Coverage will be on BON’s network of over 40 national and regional broadcasters. Ufa has also agreed one-year deals, covering 2011, in sub-Saharan Africa for delayed free-to-air rights, with TV Zimbo (Angola), Kiss TV (Kenya), STV Mozambique, TV Plus (Gabon), Tele Sports TV Togo and MBC Mauritius. Ufa has a deal with the sport’s rights-holders, Formula One Management, to distribute delayed free-to-air rights in the region for the 2011 season.