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BT Sport relinquishes UFC and NBA rights

BT Sport has confirmed that it has stepped away from negotiations to retain its UK and Ireland broadcast rights to the NBA and UFC ultimate fighting championships.

The telecoms giant says it is unwilling to pay “more than the rights are worth to us,” as it continues to focus on its core football and rugby content, as well as on “broadcast innovation,” especially in the area of 5G.

MUTV extends to new platforms

Manchester United is making its MUTV OTT service available on four additional platforms, the club has revealed.

The channel is to launch on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku and Xbox, following its debut on iOS, Android and last season.

The club says the move is driven by changing viewing habits among younger audiences.

It follows a recent report by UK media regulator Ofcom, which revealed that subscriptions to OTT TV services Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV have overtaken traditional pay TV services in the UK.

Eleven to launch with PGA Champs

Eleven Sports has added the PGA Championship to its fast-growing portfolio of UK and Ireland broadcast rights.

The global sports provider recently announced its entry to the UK market with two new channels and live and exclusive rights to every LaLiga and Serie A game in 2018-19.

The Aser company has now revealed plans to launch its new online streaming platform with live coverage of the PGA Championship, which is celebrating its centenary edition in 2018.

BT sport extends Hockey rights deal

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has agreed a new four-year partnership with BT Sport, which will give the broadcaster exclusive UK and Ireland rights to international hockey until 2022.

Properties covered by the agreement include the new, 152-game-a-year FIH Pro League, World Cups, Series Finals and Olympic Qualifiers.

Under the deal, BT Sport will show more than 600 hours of live and exclusive hockey content each year across all its platforms.

Hardy's celebrates cricket's quirks

Hardys, the Official Wine of England Cricket, teamed up with England fast bowler, Stuart Broad, and host of The News Quiz, Miles Jupp, to celebrate one of the quirkiest events in UK sport and to demonstrate the unique ways cricket is often played.

The annual Bramble Bank cricket match is played in the middle of the Solent on a sandbank between the Royal Southern Yacht Club and their counterparts across the Solent in Cowes, the Island Sailing Club.

Online surge offsets BBC final flop

More than 44 million people in the UK watched the BBC’s 2018 World Cup coverage, according to post-tournament figures released by the corporation.

But the audience for the final match, which saw France beat England’s conquerors Croatia, was significantly down on the previous edition, reaching a peak of 10.4 million, versus 17.1 million for the final in 2014.

Sky Sports Racing bags Ascot rights

Ascot Racecourse has agreed a deal that will see all 25 of its annual fixtures broadcast on the new Sky Sports Racing channel from 2019.

As part of the arrangement, Sky’s At The Races will also manage UK streaming for remote UK betting outlets.

The agreement, which will run until at least 2021, adds to Sky Sports Racing’s growing international rights portfolio.

Murray joins BBC pundit team

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has confirmed he will join the BBC’s expert team of pundits and commentators at Wimbledon 2018.

Murray, absent from this year’s event after failing to recover sufficient match fitness following a serious hip operation, confirmed the move on social media, saying: “Live in the BBC studio tomorrow with Tim Henman and trying my hand at commentary on Wednesday.... what could possibly go wrong... ”

Murray is set to join Sue Barker and Tim Henman in the studio, before making his BBC commentary debut for one of the quarter-final matches.

Nearly 24m watch Lions roar

A peak audience of 23.8 million people tuned in to watch England beat Colombia during Tuesday evening’s FIFA World Cup match, according to overnight figures.

The viewing figures gave broadcaster ITV an 81% share of the available audience, with more people tuning in to watch the England win their first World Cup penalty shoot-out ever.

The final moments of the match, which saw Tottenham’s Eric Dier put away the winning penalty, was the most watched five minutes of television since the London 2012 closing ceremony.

IBM AI to speed-edit Wimbledon clips

Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to play a role in curating highlights footage at this year’s Wimbledon Championships, with the help of the tournament's long-term official digital partner IBM.

For the first time, the global technology giant plans to deploy its Watson AI platform to analyse the emotions of players on court.

The data will be combined with other inputs including movement tracking, crowd noise and match data to identify and edit the best footage.


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