Magazine article Variety

Beautiful Game Hopes for Beautiful Coverage

Magazine article Variety

Beautiful Game Hopes for Beautiful Coverage

Article excerpt

THE MONTHLONG EUTO 2016 soccer tournament, to be held in stadiums across France starting June 10, should mark a leap forward in terms of highdefinition broadcasting and multi-platform play. But France's other national sport - labor strikes - is a potential headache for organizers, fans, and broadcasters, recently disrupting airport and train schedules and the Paris metro. Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande has warned of the threat of terrorism, and the Seine has risen to dangerous levels, causing deaths, evacuations, and widespread closures.

Still, soccer mania is unabated, and European TV crews and commentators are descending upon France. Here are some of their coverage plans.

France

France's leading commercial network, TF1, will broadcast 22 games, five of them in ultra HD for the first time. TFi had to reach a deal with BeIN Media Group, the Qatari-owned pay-TV platform that holds live rights in France, and will carry all 51 matches. M6, France's other commercial network, will air ll games.

"We hope the tournament will take place in the best possible conditions," says TFl's Francois Pellissier."The Euro is the world's third-most-watched competition, after the World Cup and the Olympics."

France is still in a state of emergency following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks; among venues targeted that day was the Stade de France, where a soccer match was underway. Media reports say Euro 2016 had been the target of a plot being hatched by the ceU behind both the Nov. 13 attacks and the assaults on March 22 in Brussels.

To prepare for Euro 2016, police and security services held a simulated terror attack May 30 at the Stade de France. The script involved two suicide bombers.

Italy

TV rights in Italy are split between Rupert Murdoch's pay-TV Sky, which is broadcasting all 51 matches, and pubcaster Rai, which has rights to 27. This is Sky's first time broadcasting the tournament in Italy, a costly investment it chose to make now because "it's a different format, with more teams, more TV slots, more weekends," says Jacques Raynaud, executive VP of Sky Sport and Sky Media in Italy. He says Sky will broadcast in Super HD, an internally developed technology. …

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