Frank Dunne

Watch.Hockey, the direct-to-consumer OTT service recently launched by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), in collaboration with tech company Nagra, represents a new commercial model that could encourage more mid-tier sports properties to develop state-of-the-art D2C platforms.

The Infront agency has called into question the value for sports bodies of entering partnerships with private equity companies, arguing that such deals result in a “loss of control”.

Saudi Arabia’s confirmation that it will create a rights-acquisition and content platform under its Saudi Sports Company division had long been expected. What took some industry observers by surprise was the country’s apparent scaling back of its ambitions and the ostensibly softer tone used when outlining its acquisitions strategy.

Manchester United and Liverpool will push ahead with their demand to exploit some of their English Premier League matches on their own digital channels despite the likely damage this will cause to the value of the league’s main international rights package, SportBusiness Media understands.

Uefa’s first-ever sale of centralised global media rights to the Women’s Champions League is thought to have drawn bids from at least four established sports-rights agencies, one new-entry agency player and one media group.

US media group Discovery has made a modest investment in the Italian rights to WWE wrestling to help increase audience share of its DMAX channel and improve the sluggish take-up of the broadcaster’s Dplay Plus premium OTT service.

Italian pay-television operator Sky Italia has extended its deal for exclusive rights to the FIA Formula One World Championship. The deal was agreed with Formula One Management, the Formula One Group subsidiary that handles the commercial rights to the series.

The ruling this month from Italy’s highest administrative court, which brought an end to the legal battle over Sky Italia’s ability to acquire exclusive internet rights, was ostensibly good news for OTT operators. It prevents Italy’s dominant ‘legacy’ pay-television operator from buying these rights, at least until 2022.
USA

The Thursday Night Football renewal between US tech and retail giant Amazon and the National Football League makes sense for both parties. But it does not mark a staging post from which Amazon could disrupt the make-up of the NFL’s main media-rights partners in the next cycle, US media experts say.

The International Swimming League is working on two fronts to increase exposure and engagement levels ahead of its second season. It is in renewal talks with many of the broadcasters who covered the league’s inaugural season, while pushing ahead with the development of its own direct-to-consumer OTT platform.

Trading in sports media rights has stopped. This has never happened before. The last time global sport came to a standstill was for the Second World War, some time before the sports-rights industry was born.

The investment of Eurosport Events in global rights to the Speedway World Championships and Speedway of Nations series makes sense for the company on several fronts, independent experts say.