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FIFA eWorld Cup scores record audience

The FIFA eWorld Cup 2018 Grand Final, staged at London’s O2 Arena, generated a record 29 million+ online views over three days, according to a joint press release from FIFA and publisher Electronic Arts (EA)

Peak concurrent viewership for the Grand Final broadcast was estimated at 322,000 across 12 digital platforms, with 19 traditional broadcasters worldwide also taking the event.

EA claims the results represent a 400% increase in digital viewership compared to the 2017 tournament.

Facebook snaps up more football rights

Facebook has confirmed it acquisition of La Liga rights in the Indian subcontinent, revealing plans to stream all 380 games this season free of charge.

The move is further evidence of Facebook’s ambitions in the live sports space, adding to reports of the social media giant’s first Premier League rights

The new, three-year agreement covers territories including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

European Athletics renews EBU deal

European Athletics has agreed a new deal with its long-time worldwide media rights partner, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The agreement will extend a relationship which began in 1981 to 2027, reflecting the continental rightsholder’s commitment to free-to-air coverage of its properties.

Major events covered by the extended contract are the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships and the subsequent three editions of the event – including those in 2022 and 2026 which will form part of a multi-sport championships.

IMG launches consumer OTT football service

IMG has revealed plans to launch its first direct-to-consumer football OTT channel.

The global media company, which will deliver the streaming platforms and content for the new Eleven Sports channels as a minor partner in the UK venture, is set to launch Strive in Scandinavia.

Strive content will include live coverage of games from LaLiga and Serie A – both exclusive to Eleven Sports in the UK and Ireland.

IMG says the Strive service will be available in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, starting on August 17th.

ECB scores YouTube #1

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) now boasts the most popular cricket channel on YouTube, according to a press release issued ahead of this week’s Lord’s test match. 

Highlights content from England’s win in the opening match of its series against India helped push the number of subscribers to the channel above the one million mark.

The digital landmark coincided with England’s 1,000th test and was followed soon after by a further milestone as the ECB took over its nearest rival to become the most-followed cricket-focussed YouTube channel in the world.

JAGS TO LAUNCH UK LIVESTREAM

NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars is to make its four pre-season games available to UK fans via a first-ever live stream.

In what it describes as a “franchise first,” the team will make coverage of the matches available via its digital platforms to audiences across the UK, Mexico and affiliate markets in Jacksonville.

The Jags, which have a strong UK fanbase, claiming the status of the “UK’s home team”, will kick off their pre-season schedule against the New Orleans Saints this week.  

Eleven Sports in Facebook tie-up

Eleven Sports has announced a deal with Facebook that will see the social media giant become the broadcaster’s free-to-air partner in the UK.

As part of the agreement, at least one match per week from both LaLiga and Serie A will be shown live and free of charge on Eleven Sports' UK Facebook page. A selection of games from the other top-flight football leagues available on Eleven Sports will also be shown on Facebook across the season.

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 MUTV.com 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.

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