Frank Dunne

The collapse in December of the French football league’s media-rights deal with Mediapro is the biggest market setback suffered by a European league for nearly two decades – since the failure of the ITV Digital pay-television platform nearly bankrupted the English Football League in 2002.

Boosting the take-up of TriathlonLive, the direct-to-consumer OTT service operated jointly by the Infront agency and World Triathlon, is seen by experts as the agency’s best chance of increasing the margins on its global rights deal with the sport’s world governing body.

Adding Eurosport’s content to a bundle of Discovery channels is the key to helping Discovery Communications build market share for its new subscription streaming platform discovery+ in an increasingly competitive OTT landscape, according to Andrew Georgiou, the president of Eurosport’s global sports rights and sports marketing solutions.

Serie A’s carve out of important rights in its international rights invitation to tender for the 2021-24 cycle has surprised potential agency bidders. Agency sources say there is a premium attached to being the sole global distributor of a property, which is reflected in rights fees. This will be lost in the current process.

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.