Brazil Approves Disney/20th Century Fox Merger

Brazil regulators have approved The Walt Disney Co.’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox Film and related businesses — paving the way for consummation of the Hollywood mega-merger first announced in December 2017.

The slow-moving antitrust hurdle represented one of the last challenges to Disney’s merger with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox entertainment division.

Brazilian authorities sought and achieved Disney’s divesture of Fox Sports channel in the South American country. Disney also owns ESPN Brazil channel. Fox Sports owns rights to key soccer competitions in the region.

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A similar situation exists in the U.S. where the Justice Department ruled Disney has to sell off its stake in 22 regional Fox Sports channels since it owns ESPN.

European Union officials ordered Disney sell its European — not U.S. — stake in A&E Networks.

“Currently, there is only one big-screen rival capable of competing with these channels,” Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense said in a statement as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The agency said separating Fox Sports from Disney “aims to eliminate competitive concerns in the pay-TV sports channel market.”

Fox Innovation Lab Releases 5G Study on U.S. Open Trial

The Fox Innovation Lab has released a 5G study with Fox Sports, Intel, AT&T and Ericsson, highlighting the project at this year’s U.S. Open Golf Championship.

5G is the next-generation mobile technology.

The study, “5G at the U.S. Open: Live Streaming Without the Handicap,” outlines the results of the companies’ trial in June to put 5G to the test, streaming 4K video to Fox Sports national broadcast. The study reveals how the companies were able to deliver higher amounts of data with no delay and remove the cost of running fiber around the Shinnecock Hills golf course and reduce personnel and equipment needed on site. The study also showed the process could improve backhaul transmission costs to the distribution center. 

“While this was a fairly simple trial, it indicated that 5G is a technology that could drive the savings of millions of dollars over the course of a production year in terms of fiber deployment and backhaul transmission, after it is fully deployed over multiple types of sports broadcasts,” stated Mike Davies, FOX Sports SVP of technical and field operations, in the report. 

“From the Lab to on-location, we worked with our partners to integrate the capabilities of 5G into the workflow of a large-scale sports production, resulting in performance learnings that inform future, more complex use cases,” stated Danny Kaye, EVP of 20th Century Fox and managing director of the Fox Innovation Lab.

Fox Partners with Snapchat, Twitter for World Cup Soccer

Seeking to further embed social media with live sports, Fox Sports is working with Twitter and Snapchat for this summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Twitter will showcase every goal scored from all 64 matches seconds after they occur. Snapchat will produce “Our Stories” video segments featuring behind-the-scenes video from the quadrennial competition taking place June 14 – July 15.

Fos, which paid a reported $400 million for the U.S. broadcast/streaming rights to the World Cup, will produce a daily live show with host Rachel Bonnetta (@rachelbonnetta), streaming on Twitter from Moscow’s Red Square.

Featured guests include Fox Sports’ 2018 FIFA World Cup on-air hots Rob Stone (@RobStoneONFOX), Landon Donovan (@landondonovan), Kate Abdo (@kate_abdo), Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas), and Fernando Fiore (@FernandoFiore), among others.

“We’ll immerse fans in the ‘beautiful game’ even further through expert analysis and fun, creative content from Moscow,” Alexis Ginas, SVP of cross-platform solutions, Fox Sports, said in a statement.

Snapchat, which is creating original content for A+E Networks, Discovery, ESPN, NBC Universal and Turner, seeks to replicate exclusive content with “Publisher Story” showcasing the daily “drama” from the international event.

“What makes the tournament so exciting for us is that we are going to be able to deliver our community a perspective of the global game that brings them not only into the roaring stadiums in Russia, but also to those celebrating in cities around the world,” said Ben Schwerin, VP of partnerships at Snap Inc.

While soccer remains the world’s most popular sport, World Cup interest among casual viewers in the United States remains to be seen considering Team USA is not participating for the first time since 1986.