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Fiba signs New Zealand rights deal as Mediaset lodges protest

The International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has agreed a rights deal with Māori Television, a free-to-air broadcaster in New Zealand, amid question marks over its contract with Spanish commercial broadcaster Mediaset.

Fiba today (Tuesday) signed a five-year agreement with Māori Television for the period 2017 to 2021. New Zealand's indigenous broadcaster will have exclusive live rights to broadcast Fiba national team competitions featuring the Tall Blacks, Tall Ferns and Juniors, with commentary options provided in te reo Māori and English.

The deal includes the qualifiers for the 2019 World Cup and the tournament itself, the 2018 Women’s World Cup 2018, the 2019 Women’s Asia Cup, the 2021 Asia Cup qualifiers and finals. The semi-finals and final from all tournaments will be available to view free-to-air, irrespective of the national teams competing.

The agreement was brokered by Fiba Media, the strategic partnership between the world governing body and digital media specialist Perform.

In other news, Mediaset has said it won’t broadcast the 2019 World Cup, which is being hosted by China, amid concern surrounding the ongoing dispute between Fiba and Euroleague Basketball. The long-running battle between the two organisations concerns the sport’s calendar in Europe and the release of players for national team competitions.

In a statement, Mediaset said: “In light of the already well-known calls of several of the most important basketball teams in Europe, among them the Spanish one, in which they do not have their main players, Mediaset España expresses it is perplexed about the situation regarding the dispute of the first day of qualifying matches of the World Cup that will officially take place on November 24-26.

“The fact that the Spanish national team cannot count on such players as a consequence of the commitments they have with their respective clubs puts their qualification for the final phase of the Fiba ​​2019 Basketball World Cup at risk and devalues ​​the competitive nature of these qualifying matches and the interest of fans and viewers.

“In such circumstances, Mediaset España has decided not to transmit this competition, whose rights were acquired mainly due to the attractiveness of a national team endorsed by the great sports successes that have been won in recent years.”

Mediaset acquired rights to national team events organised by Fiba under a five-year deal running from 2017 to 2021 which was struck in May.