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Television and Broadcasting

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African leagues 'need to commercialise'

Globalisation in football marches on with the spread of commercial principles to all parts of the world. The need to commercialise the game will be at the forefront of this year’s Soccerex African Forum with Saer Seck, President, Senegal Professional Football League, Jack Oguda, CEO, Kenyan Premier League and Stanley Matthews Sports & Commercial Director for Africa, SuperSport, all speaking on the important subject in Durban at the beginning of October.

Roland Rat takes on the Premiership

Whatever one thinks about Greg Dyke, he has not had a boring life. He was the man who revived the fortunes of faltering breakfast television by introducing the character Roland Rat who was an instant hit with children.

Now, as head of the Football Association, he is taking on a rather tougher target in the form of the Barclays Premier League. When I say 'taking on', Dyke has made it clear that he is more than happy to work with the Premiership. However, his stance may well be seen as a threat to the interests of the Premier League.

Transfer window breaks all records

Player transfer spending by Premier League clubs in the summer 2013 transfer window was a record, according to analysis by Deloitte. Gross spending totalled £630m, 29% up on the equivalent 2012 figure of £490m and £130m more than the previous record of £500m set in 2008.

Solid start for BT

The first live Premier League football match shown exclusively by BT, the opening game between Liverpool and Stoke, was watched by a peak audience of 764,000 viewers, giving the new rivals to Sky a solid start. The match average was 629,000, although these figures from Barb do not include online or app viewers.

About half the households that watched the game used the rival cable TV platform owned by Virgin Media. The agreement could be very important in boosting viewer numbers but it doesn't do much for BT's objective of attracting broadband customers away from Virgin and BSkyB.

BT does deal with Virgin

Just before the start of the football season BT has reached a deal to make its new sports offering available to customers of Virgin Media. This will enable to recoup part of its estimated £1bn investment in the channels.

The three year deal brings BT Sport to about two million households who have Virgin's XL package, tripling its reach to three million. BSkyB does not disclose how many of its 10.4 million customers take its sports channels. BT could receive £75m a year under the deal.

Premier League clampdown on pubs

The Premier League is clamping down on pubs and clubs that show unauthorised live games on Saturday afternoons.   It is a hired a firm of corporate investigators from Glasgow to carry out spot checks. Last week the Premiership won a High Court action to require the six leading Internet Service Providers in the UK to block First Row Sports, the leading provider of unauthorised streaming.

Football League sponsorship deal

The Football League's long search for a sponsor has culminated in a deal with Sky Bet that will last for the next five years. At the same time it has extended its broadcasting arrangement with Sky Sport.

The dual agreement is worth about £300m. The extension of the Sky Sports deal is worth more than the £195m the League earned from the previous agreement.

BBC and BT win FA Cup rights

BT Group's new TV service has won a joint bid with the BBC to screen FA Cup football matches in the UK up to 2018. The winning bids are estimated to have cost close to £50m a year.

BT sports has exclusive rights to show 25 live matches annually, with the BBC gaining exclusive coverage of 16 games a year. The broadcasters had competed against a joint bid from BSkyB and ITV. However, ITV has found the FA Cup a less attractive means of pulling in advertisers than some other sports coverage.

BT and Conference do deal

As widely anticipated, the Football Conference and BT Sport have agreed a two-year deal for the new channels to show thirty live matches a season from the Conference Premier.

BT Sport will host live broadcasts from the grounds for twenty-five league matches, plus both legs of the play-off semis and the Promotion Final at Wembley, from the start of the 2013/14 season in August.

Scottish league changes finally agreed

The Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League have agreed to merge after a marathon meeting. The league structure will remain a top flight of 12 and three lower divisions of 10. There will be play-offs between the top and second tier league.