ISU signs deal with Infront; Will EuroSport & CBC still cover ISU events this season?

clairecloutier

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So as I mentioned in the NBCSportsGold thread, it seems that the ISU has partnered with Infront to be its primary media partner/broadcaster.


Apparently this deal applies to all countries except China, Korea, Japan, Canada, USA.

EuroSport will, apparently, no longer broadcast ISU events. It's unclear whom Infront will negotiate with to broadcast ISU events in Europe. They have assigned rights in the Nordic countries to NENT. (See @Sylvia's post below.)
 
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Sylvia

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Infront negotiates media broadcast rights. For example, YLE in Finland will no longer broadcast figure skating because the rights were sold to the NENT Group: https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/threads/finnish-skating-news-2018-onwards.104367/page-4#post-5608245

Press release dated 18 July 2019: https://www.infront.sport/en/news/2019/7/infront-seals-media-rights-agreement-for-isu-with-nent-group

Infront today announced that it has sold the exclusive Nordic media rights to the main International Skating Union (ISU) competitions to Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) until and including season 2022/23.

The deal ensures close to 400 hours of coverage from ISU events around the world live every season on NENT Group's Viaplay and Viafree streaming services and Viasat pay-TV channels in combination with substantial exposure on its free-TV channels.

NENT Group will offer viewers in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark exclusive live coverage of the following ISU events:

ISU Speed Skating Championships
ISU World Cup Speed Skating
ISU Short Track Speed Skating Championships
ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating
ISU Figure Skating Championships
ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating
ISU World Synchronised Skating Championships


ETA: I searched online but haven't found any news re. Eurosport's figure skating coverage plans (or broadcast rights) this season.
 
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clairecloutier

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Thanks @Sylvia.

So I guess there is still a chance that Infront could negotiate with EuroSport to continue broadcasting ISU events? It's all a bit confusing!
 

Sylvia

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Claire, I suggest replacing "EuroSport apparently out as broadcaster for ISU events" in your thread title with something like "will Eurosport's figure skating coverage be affected this season?" until we know more (so as not to panic anyone ;)).
 
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seabm7

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Here is a tweet by Jerome A. Prins, who has worked with EuroSport Netherlands,


This tweet thread is confusing. It looks like he's saying no more GP with EuroSport Netherlands, but other people are arguing against.
 

overedge

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According to Wikipedia, Infront (who I'd never heard of until today) is run by Philippe Blatter, the nephew of former FIFA head Sepp Blatter. Infront was started in 2002 to broadcast FIFA football/soccer, while Sepp B was in charge of the federation. Sepp Blatter was banned from FIFA after a shameful record of questionable financial dealings :bribe:
 
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Braulio

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It's a shame that YLE wont broadcast skating anymore :( they used to archive the entire competition right after it ended even before the ISU eurovision sports did.

How will this apply to isu eurovision?

Hopefully eurosport will buy the rights otherwise we will return to those times when Russian tv was the main feed provider of the ISU Grand Prix events
 

Marta24

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Well, this is disappointing :(
I was so used in the last few years being able to watch the Grand Prix on Eurosport. Here in Germany the channel ARD showed Worlds and they still have the competition on demand. With youtube constantly deleting every figure skating related video and Eurosport maybe not buying any TV rights, this is going to be a challenge to watch any skating at all this season.
 

Sylvia

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Uh oh.
At this time,CBC does not own the broadcast rights to the ISU Figure Skating season.We will continue to follow the stories of Canada's athletes through our editorial and social platforms and should we be successful in reacquiring the rights,we will ensure everyone is made aware.
 

Braulio

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I think there is no need to panic (yet) as with this new company the distribution of rights and money agreement is not done, hopefully the tv companies are in full effect negotiating; I can't see major countries like Canada not getting the rights for a season when they will organize the World Championships and I can't imagine the ISU not settling to some agreement and losing money
 

ostile17

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I just got this reply from Eurosport Player Support on Twitter. Nothing finalized yet!

"Hello, at the present time we are still waiting for confirmation of broadcasting rights for these tournaments. We apologise for the delay in confirming this, but would like to tell you that we will make an announcement as soon as possible.'

 

luckiest1

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It would truly suck if there was no Canadian TV coverage of figure skating competitions held outside of Canada. It would be the first time I can remember. I sure hope CBC can work something out!
 

Japanfan

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It would truly suck if there was no Canadian TV coverage of figure skating competitions held outside of Canada. It would be the first time I can remember. I sure hope CBC can work something out!
I've been expecting this to happen for some time. So much in fact that I've thought many times that CBC was going to destroy my love of FS. Especially during its coverage of GP events, wedged in to its Sports Saturday coverage. During one event, the GPF I believe, they showed only one performance (Mao Asada).

Mr. Japanfan and I have enjoyed watching FS on TV together for many years. I'll be sad to see that go, as he won't watch online with me. And, I like my commentary.
 

Sally1214

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FWIW, in lieu of Skate America, CBC is streaming Skate Ontario's Octoberfest competion from Oct. 17/19 - Oct. 20/19: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/winter/figureskating/broadcast

So, since CBC is obviously not on board for this season, who is going to produce the host feed for Worlds? Is Skate Canada not responsible to have this in place?
There are no words to express how disappointed I am about this. No figure skating coverage in Canada is incomprehensible. I've posted in the TV Teka thread about buying a VPN service. Know NOTHING about them & am desperately hoping for helpful suggestions from those of you who are WAY more tech savvy than me.
 

Zemgirl

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I'm confused, did Infront partner with the ISU with the intention of not selling anyone broadcast rights? Are they holding out for major :bribe: that nobody will pay for a niche sport?
 

Braulio

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Then if almost no tv or at least only cable/ppv service will show the GP I fear the video sharing in youtube will be even tougher. I can see AGAIN any channels that post that being taken down. I wont risk my current channels that's for sure!
 

starrynight

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I can't see major countries like Canada not getting the rights for a season when they will organize the World Championships and I can't imagine the ISU not settling to some agreement and losing money
A similar thing happened in Australia with the swimming world championships this year. FINA wanted so much money (half a million dollars) for the broadcast rights that the Australian network who had the deal could not afford to pay. Because with commentary teams and the rest added on, the broadcast would cost $800k. So there was no deal and no tv coverage at all. This is in the context of every World Champs being televised in Australia for decades.

And it was so frustrating because swimming outside the Olympics is in many cases a niche sport too - except in Australia where it is very popular. But still, the price was set too high by FINA and blocked out a major swimming nation.

It didn't make sense to me that FINA would just block out one of the biggest swimming nations in the world over a money dispute. But it did.


So it's not like there isn't a precedent for this. FINA was prepared to block one of the major swimming nations and not lower its price.

I suspect that something similar is happening here. I guess the ISU and Infront hopes that the networks will blink and cave in? I'd just be interested to see how much money Infront is wanting. It must be more than whatever the networks considers value for money.
 
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Zemgirl

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I suspect that something similar is happening here. I guess the ISU and Infront hopes that the networks will blink and cave in?
They've greatly overestimated the interest in skating outside of the Olympics if that's what they're counting on.

Killing the visibility of a niche sport doesn't strike me as a sound long-term business strategy, but maybe those involved are more interested in a quick payday.
 

starrynight

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Killing the visibility of a niche sport doesn't strike me as a sound long-term business strategy, but maybe those involved are more interested in a quick payday.
And also a lot of free to air stations are losing money due to the digital consumption of media, Netflix etc and with advertisers moving elsewhere such as Facebook etc to chase larger audiences.

So if you combine networks with less money with a sport which is niche and potentially an organising body wanting too much money for the rights - then you get this situation. It might just not be worth the $$ for the networks.

It's interesting to me that it's both Eurosport and CBC - so it's not issues confined to one network (ie. budgeting). I'm pretty certain that means they want too much money for the broadcast rights.
 

Zemgirl

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It's interesting to me that it's both Eurosport and CBC - so it's not issues confined to one network (ie. budgeting). I'm pretty certain that means they want too much money for the broadcast rights.
I can't speak as to CBC, but Eurosport certainly has no shortage of (apparently) more reasonably prices sports content to show. It's not like figure skating has been their main focus, as anyone who wanted to watch skating and found ski jumping/snooker/African soccer/Australian Open instead can attest. Someone has miscalculated badly.

Another unfortunate development is that this may also be the end of the ISU Skating Channel, which was a commentary-free delight if you weren't geo-blocked.
 

marie1616

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And I'm not even sure ski jumping is a lot cheaper for them as it is a lot more popular than skating in countries like Germany, Poland or Norway.
 

Zemgirl

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And I'm not even sure ski jumping is a lot cheaper for them as it is a lot more popular than skating in countries like Germany, Poland or Norway.
Yes, I didn't mean it was necessarily cheaper - just that it was probably a better investment due to broader appeal.
 

clairecloutier

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One really does have to wonder what is going on here. Canada is one of the traditional powers in figure skating, one of the Big 4 countries. And yet we're looking at the possibility of no figure skating coverage in Canada this season?! And in terms of media markets for figure skating, the European area, as covered by Eurosport, has to be one of the bigger ones as well. So you have two of the biggest markets in figure skating with no coverage?? And no news or commentary on the situation from the feds or the ISU--just radio silence. It's quite strange.

ETA: I suppose the possibility remains that last-minute negotiations could still be happening ....
 

nimi

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And in terms of media markets for figure skating, the European area, as covered by Eurosport, has to be one of the bigger ones as well. So you have two of the biggest markets in figure skating with no coverage??
Like @Sylvia noted above, the Nordic media rights went to NENT that owns a bunch of sports channels operating under the brand Viasat Sport. Is it really so that when it comes to the bigger European markets, viable competitors/alternatives to Eurosport (like Viasat Sport and CMore Sport are here in Nordic countries) simply don't exist? If it is so and now ISU is suddenly asking for a lot more money or something... :slinkaway
 

clairecloutier

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Like @Sylvia noted above, the Nordic media rights went to NENT that owns a bunch of sports channels operating under the brand Viasat Sport. Is it really so that when it comes to the bigger European markets, viable competitors/alternatives to Eurosport (like Viasat Sport and CMore Sport are here in Nordic countries) simply don't exist? If it is so and now ISU is suddenly asking for a lot more money or something... :slinkaway

Is NENT actually going to show any skating, though? Just wondering, as it seemed some Finnish fans have been looking at TVTeka.
 

nimi

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Is NENT actually going to show any skating, though? Just wondering, as it seemed some Finnish fans have been looking at TVTeka.
Yes but it's a paid service and I assume TVTeka would be cheaper or something?

Before, you didn't have to pay to see skating on your TV screen because it was Yle (public service funded by tax payers) who broadcasted the major ISU events in Finland.

See e.g. this article:
It says that ISU events such as figure skating GP series & Worlds, synchro Worlds, as well as speed skating and short track World Cup and Worlds will be shown on Viaplay, Viasat sports channels and on Viafree (which is a free service but I highly doubt that any of the figure skating events are going to show up there). The amount of skating broadcasted should be around 400 hours per season.
 

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