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ABUGA 2014: Broadcasters explore common ground in sport

Sports broadcasters at the ABU General Assembly in Macau have been urged to find a common ground with right holders.

The ABU Sports Group meeting was held amid the rising cost of sports rights, especially high value sporting events such as the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games.  Delegates expressed growing concerns over the current fragmented media market in sports and stiff competition from other platforms.

Sports Group Chairperson Jiang Heping, who is the Controller of China Central TV Sports, stressed the need for both broadcasters and the agents to help grow and expand the market.  He said looking at the priorities of both the agents and broadcasters, there were differences but also a common goal – the widest possible exposure.

Asked how broadcasters could narrow the differences and maximise their common goals, Jiang Heping said interactive gatherings of both broadcasters and agents could only help them understand each other better through sharing of experiences.

Broadcasters acknowledged the fact that the world needed sports broadcasting more than ever. In 2014, the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the FIFA World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, the Youth Olympics in Nanjing and the Asian Games in Incheon had demonstrated that sport was becoming a part of daily life.

Director of ABU Sports Cai Yanjiang said such events had not only helped to inspire people but had profoundly helped to raise awareness of the importance of national, regional and international sporting events.

ABU Secretary-General Dr Javad Mottaghi said sport embraced all sections of society in promoting human values, diversity and respect. He said, however, that broadcasting of international sporting events was getting increasingly difficult for national broadcasters with limited budgets to secure rights. This was depriving citizens of access to such international events. The Secretary-General said the ABU was going all the way to negotiate on behalf of its members.

During the week leading up to the General Assembly on 27-28 October 2014, ABU members will discuss experiences and challenges faced by the industry from new media as well as the increasing cost of securing sports rights. The meeting in Macau is looking at ways to tackle challenges posed by social media and how to leverage content across multiple platforms along with traditional media.

Broadcasters were also informed of several initiatives being planned or undertaken by the ABU, from providing broadcast services to expertise and training for members. Delegates were also told of upcoming international sporting events including the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016. The next ABU Sports Group Meeting will be held in Beijing, China, in May 2015.