Sport

RJR Group bags rights for mega sports events

BY DANIA BOGLE Observer staff reporter

Wednesday, August 22, 2012    

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THE RJR Communications Group has won the broadcast rights for an array of sporting events extending to the FIFA World Cup Football Finals to be held in Qatar in 2022 at a price tag of almost $1 billion.

Group managing director Gary Allen yesterday announced the Lyndhurst Road-based entity's 10-year sports viewing portfolio and, revealed plans to bring World Cup Qualifying football, IAAF World Championships in Athletics, ISSA Boys' & Girls' Athletics Championships and ISSA Schoolboy Football competitions to the local public.

Through its television and radio stations Television Jamaica, TVJ Sports Network and Hitz92 FM radio, the media conglomerate will bring live and exclusive broadcast of home-and-away CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches until 2014, as well as football friendlies in Jamaica and overseas but produced for television through a deal inked with International Media Content (IMC), the parent body for cable station SportsMax.

In addition, the FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups and the Confederations Cups will also be aired.

The Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) Manning, daCosta, Walker, and Ben Francis Cup competitions also make their return to TVJ for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons.

The group has also reached an agreement to air the 2013 ISSA Boys & Girls Championships and has reached a preliminary agreement for the 2014 and 2015 editions.

TVJ already has exclusive rights to the 2013 IAAF World Championships to be held in Moscow, Russia, and has reached agreements to continue broadcast of the IAAF Samsung Diamond League in 2013 and 2014 and the 2013 World Youth Championships.

Allen explained that a 10-year plan allowed for the establishment of a proper relationship.

"We feel that a 10-year plan allows for initial start-up growth and exceeding expectations towards the backend of it, so that's the strategic thinking behind it," he told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

As for the return of the World Cup and ISSA competitions to TVJ, Allen said: "While we didn't have the rights, we remained engaged... committed and we did what we could without rights.

"I think if you do what you can without rights and... do it well, it will recommend you for what you can do with the rights. We've continuously improved our execution in our coverage of sports... in our analysis and that would have assisted in finding favour with the properties we had lost and are now back with us," he said.

The agreement with IMC marks a dramatic turnaround in relationship between the parties from a few years ago when SportsMax filed a lawsuit against the RJR Group for alleged infringement of intellectual property rights.

"At the end of the day, we are broadcast entities that operate in the same region... the same market, and because there isn't a depth of broadcast entities... you have to work together to ensure that the properties and the events are brought across to the entire audience," president and chief executive officer for SportsMax, Oliver McIntosh, told the Observer.

"We are proud to work with the RJR Group, especially because of the fact that they have multiple platforms and that they can broadcast on.

"Our agreement with the international rights holders is that we will bring as much available of the events to the widest television audience as possible so our discussions with RJR Group is to work on that... so it really wasn't hard to make that leap," McIntosh said.

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