Crozier calls up ex-ONdigital team to handle £350m FA rights talks

The Football Association (FA) has drafted in a strategic media partner to advise on broadcast and interactive rights negotiations for the FA Cup and England internationals – worth up to £350m.

The appointment of sit-up.com has been initiated by FA chief executive Adam Crozier, as the former Saatchi & Saatchi boss tightens his grip on the footballing body.

Sit-up.com was launched last year by former ONdigital broadcast director Ashley Faull and ex-ONdigital strategy director John Egan. They were joined by Chelsea Village managing director Chris Manson, who became finance chief.

The exclusive TV contract for the FA Cup, which is shared by BSkyB and ITV, was sold for £130m nearly four years ago. Observers say the deal, which expires in 2001, is likely to nearly double in value with the introduction of digital and interactive rights.

BSkyB and ITV also own the rights to England home internationals, in a separate deal which cost £87.5m. The figure is likely to soar.

The negotiations will be the first test of BBC director-general Greg Dyke’s commitment to securing sports rights for the corporation.

The sit-up.com founders are using the FA deal as a one-off project while they seek funding to launch an interactive broadcast company.

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