England Game Heralds Future of Sports on Web

Marketing, October 7, 2009 | Go to article overview

England Game Heralds Future of Sports on Web


Online sports coverage is gaining in popularity and revenues, writes Ed Kemp.

This Saturday, football fans will be glued to their laptops rather than heading to the local, as England's World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine is shown exclusively online.

The match was left without a broadcast partner following the collapse of Setanta in June. The Ukrainian FA hired football agency Kentaro to secure one, and, having rejected several approaches made by TV broadcasters, it eventually sold the rights to digital media company Perform.

It is no secret that online and mobile transmissions are becoming increasingly lucrative to rights-holders, especially in overseas rights sales. As internet-enabled TV sets become more widely available from 2010, the appeal to brands of web-based broadcasting will grow still further.

'This is an interim period but the ability to run bespoke ads will be very appealing,' says Antony Marcou, managing director of media-rights company Sports Revolution.

The England/Ukraine qualifier's move online has also presented the opportunity for several media owners to drive traffic to their sites The official stream will be shown at ukrainevengland.com, but, having agreed affiliate deals, New International's The Times and The Sun, are urging fans to watch the game via their sites.

Responsibility for online ad sales lies with Kentaro but a spokeswoman for NI said it would be speaking to relevant advertisers about opportunities to place ads on its sites in the build-up to the game.

Fans are being asked for a one-off pay-to-view fee of between pounds 4.99 and pounds 11.99 on the day of the match. However, Marcou believes many people will be put off by the price. …

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