Soccer News & Notes, January 5, 2011

2011 AFC Asian Cup secures broad U.S. exposure
Submitted by Matt Cutler on Wed, 05/01/2011

The upcoming 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar will be available in more than 65 million homes across the United States after One World Sports sealed a raft of carriage deals with cable and satellite platforms.
The event has been licensed to iN DEMAND, which will distribute the football tournament to Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Mediacom and other US affiliates. DISH Network and Avail/TVN, which includes AT&T and Verizon FiOS among its affiliates, have also acquired rights.

Broadband coverage will be available live via www.oneworldsports.tv and mobile video coverage will be available on Verizon Wireless V CAST Video at www.verizonwireless.com. The 32-game tournament will kick-off on Friday and will conclude on January 29.

"The response from the leading cable and satellite providers has been overwhelming," said Preston Bornman, chief operating officer of One World Sports. "They see the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 as a natural extension of the success they had with last summer’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa, which saw a dramatic rise in viewership."

One World Sports, which is a subsidiary of One Media Corp, acquired the U.S. broadcast rights to the event through Singapore-based World Sport Group, the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) exclusive marketing and media partner.

Source: www.sportbusiness.com

World Sports Group links with STATS for 2011 Asian Cup coverage
Monday, January 3, 2011

World Sport Group (WSG) has announced that this year’s broadcast coverage of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup Qatar 2011 tournament will feature data graphics developed via STATS’s SportVU player tracking technology.

WSG is the exclusive marketing and media partner of the AFC and STATS is the official data partner of the Confederation. STATS’s SportVU system is a player tracking technology that collects the positioning data of the ball, players and officials in real time.

James Clarke, WSG’s senior vice-president of content, said: "We are excited by the opportunity to add STATS’s rich data to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 and give the event the depth of statistical insight it deserves. This is the region’s premier event and we are delighted that with the support of Samsung, we will be able to provide fans with a level of data and interactivity that is the equal of any other world-class event."

STATS will also be powering the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011’s online match centre and mobile application with statistical data, editorial, real-time commentary and pitch maps. This year’s tournament will run from January 7-29.

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

Qatar 2022 World Cup winter switch talk can wait – Blatter
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed on Tuesday that the possibility of moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter months was not being actively considered at the moment, but could be discussed in the future.

Qatar has pledged that stadia, training venues and other areas used in 2022 will be cooled to combat the soaring summer temperatures. However, just days ago Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed bin Hammam, who is from Qatar, became the latest figure to suggest a switch to the winter could be a "win-win situation for all the parties".

According to the Associated Press, Blatter told reporters on Tuesday during a trip to Saudi Arabia that the idea of a switch had been suggested and could be discussed at a later date.

During the trip, Blatter also held talks with Prince Sultan bin Fahd, president of Saudi Arabia’s Youth Welfare and Sport administration, about possible future collaboration programmes.

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam backs winter switch for World Cup
Monday, January 3, 2011

The head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has spoken of his support for moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter.

Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari national who is also a FIFA executive committee member, has claimed a winter tournament would ensure players would not be exhausted after completing a full season. The move would also counter claims that the heat of the Qatari summer could exhaust the players.

"If the competition is held in June and July, it will be perfectly organised by the host," Bin Hammam said, according to the Associated Press. "If the competition is moved to January, it will be a sort of win-win situation for all the parties." In December, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and general secretary Jerome Valcke said that moving the Qatar World Cup to the winter was worth considering after FIFA executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer suggested the idea.

However, AC Milan director Umberto Gandini has claimed "it would be very difficult today to see the top five European leagues change their calendar in order to accommodate the World Cup in January". He added: "We have traditions. We have contracts in place. It would be complicated."

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

ESPN to carry domestic Mexican action
Wednesday, January 5, 2011

North American broadcast giant ESPN has picked up live rights to Mexican football matches involving Cruz Azul and Santos as part of a new deal with Television Azteca.

The agreement will also see other programming involving rival clubs such as Jaguares, Monarcas, Necaxa, Pachuca, Puebla and Estudiantes Tecos aired to fans in the United States. The first game to be covered will take place on Saturday, when Cruz Azul takes on Estudiantes Tecos.

Television Azteca executive Guillermo Alegret confirmed the deal to Record FM, saying: "We have reached a deal, with the backing of the clubs, to transmit via ESPN almost all of the teams’ games in full."

Alegret added: "We had the right, with Cruz Azul and Santos, to resell the rights if we considered it to be convenient. However, we wanted to have their support, and they are fully in agreement with how we have handled the situation."

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

Manchester United secures U.S. radio exposure with SiriusXM deal
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Satellite radio provider SiriusXM has unveiled an exclusive, multi-year broadcast deal to carry Manchester United’s Barclays Premier League games live in the United States.

Under the terms of the agreement, New York-based SiriusXM becomes the first U.S. broadcaster to air the club’s matches, with subscribers able to tune into the official club broadcast.

"Manchester United is one of the most famous and widely followed sports franchises in the world and we’re thrilled to offer our listeners access to every one of their Premier League matches," said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and chief content officer.

Manchester United CEO David Gill added: "This agreement demonstrates the enduring strength of the club internationally. We are very proud to have SiriusXM as our first satellite radio broadcaster in the U.S. This is an exciting arrangement as we know how passionate our fans are in the United States and now they can catch all the match action live on Sirius and XM."

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

MLS newcomer caps season ticket sales
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 – 09:56

The Portland Timbers expansion franchise announced it will cap its season ticket sales at 12,000 after more than 10,000 fans snapped up seats for the team’s inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

The club confirmed the development on its website after the conclusion of the ‘Axe Society’ promotion, which offered special discounts to fans and concluded on December 31. Tickets in 33 different seating sections have sold out, with all 23 Sunset Porsche Audi Suites having been acquired on multi-year deals.

Portland will play at the renovated PGE Park, which will have a capacity of 20,000, and the team’s opening game of the season will take place on April 14, when the Chicago Fire visits the Timbers.

The club has signed up a number of commercial backers ahead of its debut in the League, with Alaska Airlines acting as the shirt partner and Widmer Brothers, Burgerville, Key Bank, Adidas and Portland General Electric also recruited as sponsors.

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

FIFA president Sepp Blatter set to introduce anti-corruption committee
Submitted by Matt Cutler on Sun, 02/01/2011

FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed on Sunday that he plans to set up an anti-corruption committee at world football’s governing body.

In the build-up to the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts in early December, two of FIFA’s 24-man executive committee, Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu, were suspended after allegations emerged that they had offered to sell their votes to undercover reporters from the Sunday Times.

"I will take care of it personally, to make sure that there is no corruption at FIFA," Blatter said in an interview with Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung. "This committee will strengthen our credibility and give us a new image in terms of transparency."

Blatter explained that the committee would comprise seven to nine members "not only from sport but from politics, finance, business and culture". The FIFA president added that he would not be on the committee himself.

"The committee must be independent to guarantee maximum credibility," he said. "I want to present this committee to the FIFA Congress here in Zurich at the start of June."

It is unclear how FIFA’s existing ethics committee would fit into Blatter’s plans. Last month, Blatter described suggestions that there was systematic corruption within FIFA as "nonsense".

Source: www.sportbusiness.com

Ukrainian Euro 2012 chief makes ticketing vow
Monday, January 3, 2011

Ukrainian football fans will be offered affordable tickets for the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament, according to one of the competition’s leading officials.

Markiyan Lubkivsky, who is Euro 2012 director in Ukraine, told Interfax that the tickets will carry the same prices in Ukraine and co-host Poland. The ticketing process will be launched in March 2011 through UEFA’s online platforms.

"We already know how much they (the tickets) will cost, but we still cannot disclose this information," Lubkivsky told the Soviet Sport newspaper. "I would say only that the prices will be less than those in (Euro 2008 co-hosts) Austria and Switzerland."

He added: "I expect a rush on the tickets. I think that most of the fans will book tickets via UEFA’s official website." The prices for tickets at Euro 2008 started at around Eur50 per seat.

Source: SoccerEx Business Daily

Michel Platini to stay on as UEFA president
Submitted by Matt Cutler on Fri, 24/12/2010

UEFA president Michel Platini will be unopposed when he stands for re-election in March, European football’s governing body has confirmed.

UEFA revealed on its website that no other candidates had put themselves forward by the deadline, which expired at midnight on December 22, three months before the vote at the UEFA Congress in Paris on March 22.

The former France captain and coach became president in 2007 after beating Sweden’s Lennart Johansson in a bitter election contest. "UEFA president Michel Platini will be seeking a second four-year term of office from 2011 to 2015," stated the governing body.

Since the beginning of his tenure, Platini has overseen some major developments in European football. UEFA will take the European Championships to Ukraine and Poland in 2012, and from 2016, the Euros will be expanded from 16 teams to 24.

The biggest change, which is expected to be implemented over the coming years, will be UEFA’s financial fair play rules. The new regulations, which will limit spending in order to safeguard the future of European clubs, will start to be introduced in 2012.

Source: www.sportbusiness.com

ESPN WILL EXPAND PROGRAMMING ON 3D CHANNEL IN MID-FEBRUARY
By Eric Fisher, Staff Writer, SportsBusiness Journal

ESPN is expanding its 3D TV channel to full 24-hour, seven-day-per-week programming beginning Feb. 14. When live events are not shown on the channel, ESPN 3D will air replays of prior events. ESPN 3D began last June 11 with the FIFA World Cup from South Africa, and to date has shown nearly 60 events in the enhanced format, including its first NBA 3D TV game last month.

ESPN first announced plans for the 3D TV channel at last year’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and is using the high-profile forum again to trumpet the expansion, even as 3D TV remains dogged by disappointing sales and widespread skepticism.

Source: www.sportsbusinessdaily.com

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