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Grade move could spark ITV sport review

ITV’s commitment to sport could be set for review after the broadcaster controversially poached Michael Grade from terrestrial rival BBC to be ITV’s new executive chairman.

Grade, who leaves his role as BBC chairman for a £825,000 basic salary at ITV, is known to favour importing US programming and investing in homemade dramas and has no track record to speak of in terms of a leaning towards sport.

Top of table clash boosts Sky

Sky Sports’ coverage of this weekend’s top of the table FA Premier League clash between Chelsea and Manchester United attracted an audience of 2.95 million according to unofficial overnight viewing figures.

The audience level is believed to be the biggest viewing figures for a multi-channel audience for the year so far.

The game, screened live on Sky Sports 1, saw United and Chelsea draw 1-1.

The audience peaked at 3.426 million viewers on the quarter hour from 5.30pm, as the match moved towards a conclusion.

Sport magazine ties up with Xfm

GCap Media’s radio station Xfm London has struck a content-led deal with Sport magazine to create a co-branded sports update to be broadcast every Friday morning.

The £50,000 deal, initially for three months, will act as supporting content to Sport magazine, billed and commercially owned by the publisher.

UK brands rush to China football package

A number of UK brands are scrapping it out to sign up to sponsor a new content-driven package of programming that provides Chinese consumers with the latest news from British football.

Despite only a few weeks in the market, rights holder Global Broadcast Networks has received a number of expressions of interest in the sponsorship from UK brands keen to enter the lucrative Chinese market.

Chelsea unveils relaunched website

Chelsea has given its website a major revamp as it looks to invest in digital media as a key communication platform to grow the club’s global fan base.

The chelseafc.com site has been redesigned by the club’s digital media partner Premium TV to be fully broadband and mobile enabled, thus allowing Chelsea to communicate with fans around the globe on every available digital platform.

The site, part of the Chelsea Digital Media joint venture between Chelsea and Sky, features state of the art design, functionality and features. 

ITV buoyed by CL audience

In the face of merger talk and concerns over significant advertising drop-offs, ITV received a welcome fillip after registering its best Champions League TV audience of the season last night.

The group clash between Celtic and Manchester United on ITV1 was watched by 6.4 million viewers according to unofficial overnight figures – the best Champions League audience of the tournament thus far.

Live coverage of Celtic's surprise 1-0 victory over United attracted a 27% share of audience over the two hours of programming beginning from 7.45pm last night.

Mackenzie reappears with online venture

Former Talksport chief executive Kelvin Mackenzie is to re-enter the sport industry with the launch of a new online sports broadcaster, thecommentator.com.

Mackenzie is to launch the new site next year with users able to access live commentary streams on major sporting events as well as blogs and podcasts.

The site will also feature a listener phone-in initially expected to broadcast for eight hours a day before becoming a 24-hour channel later in the year.

Le Lay takes Eurosport top job

Eurosport has promoted Laurent-Eric Le Lay to the new post of chairman and CEO as part of a management restructure of the pan-regional broadcaster’s operations.

Le Lay (pictured), who has been with Eurosport since 1993, has been promoted from his current role as managing director of broadcasting which he has held for the past three years.

BBC offers Ashes broadband service

The BBC will broadcast highlights of the upcoming Ashes series online within only a matter of minutes of the close of each day’s play.

The BBC has increased its commitment to coverage of the cricket series between England and Australia by adding a free 10-minute broadband package in addition to the highlights show it has committed to on its terrestrial channel.

Sky reshuffles marketing team

The marketing for Sky’s sport coverage could be set for a shake-up after the pay-TV broadcaster promoted Matthew Anderson to group director for communications and brand marketing as part of a major reshuffle of its management team.

The departure of Sky’s chief marketing officer Jon Florsheim  to become chief executive of Homeserve has seen former communications chief Anderson take over responsibilities for brand marketing – a move which could signal a rethink of the brand’s communications approach including the way it promotes its sport coverage.

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