FIBA Unfazed About London 2012, NBA Lockout Link; Softball Congress Convenes

(ATR) FIBA tells Around the Rings the quality of competition present at the London Olympics is not in danger ... Softball-baseball alliance up for debate in Oklahoma City ... FIFA nets $1.85 billion in TV rights.

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FIBA Unfazed About London 2012, Lockout Link

The secretary general of the International Basketball Federation tells Around the Rings he does not expect the NBA lockout to hamper the quality of competition present at the London Olympics.

Patrick Baumann’s comments come in response to Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski’s recent remarks that if players are still locked out, then they’ll be hesitant to play for insurance purposes, particularly if out of shape.

"Regarding insurance, the lockout was already underway this summer and while the USA did not participate in international competition, national teams around the world included NBA players as they sought to qualify for London 2012," writes Baumann in an email to ATR.

"The summer of 2011 proved players' desires to play for their national teams and with next year being the Olympics, it would be strange to imagine players being any less determined to represent their countries."

Krzyzewski also expressed concern about a salvaged NBA season infringing upon the Olympic training period should the lockout cease and scheduling officials choose to extend the traditional league calendar.

Baumann tells ATR it’s too early to speculate about such a scenario, instead expressing FIBA’s desire for the lockout to come to a timely end. When that will be, he says, is a question for someone else.

"FIBA is not in any way involved in the lockout so it is not up to us to start guessing," he writes.

"As the world governing body for basketball, we – as would be the case for any league around the world – hope that the dispute can be resolved and that the players can get back to what they do best: play basketball."

The NBA is expected to cancel two more weeks of its regular season any day now after three days of talks among league officials, player representatives and a federal mediator failed to bring a resolution.

Softball-Baseball Alliance Up for Debate

The International Softball Federation is preparing to plot a course for 2020 at its biennial congress convening Thursday through Sunday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In addition to regular commission meetings and the awarding of future ISF events, delegates from upwards of 80 countries will debate Saturday the pros and cons of joining forces with baseball in an attempt at Olympic reinstatement for the 2020 Summer Games.

"We haven’t completely said no, but we are waiting to see what our overall membershipthinks about whether it’s to our advantage to be working together," ISF president Don Porter told ATR ahead of the congress.

Baseball, meanwhile, is forming a temporary commission to analyze the joint pitch ahead of its own congress, scheduled for December in Dallas, Texas.

Both sports are among eight shortlisted by the IOC ahead of a 2013 decision. It's expected there will be room for only one to join the program, currently capped at 28 sports.

TV Deals Net FIFA $1.85 Billion

FIFA has sold TV rights contracts worth $1.85 billion for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the last week alone after inking deals with broadcasters in Australia, Canada, Caribbean and the U.S.

World football's governing body announced Thursday that in addition to the U.S. media rights announced last week, it’s also extended deals with SBS in Australia as well as IMC in the Caribbean and struck an agreement with Bell Media in Canada for its 2015-2022 TV rights program.

The deals include rights for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, Russia 2018, the 2019 Women’s World Cup and Qatar 2022.

"FIFA is delighted with the progress of our media rights sales to date which, coming amid austere economic times, more than confirm the strength and appeal of our competitions," said FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke.

Last week, FIFA announced that Fox had outbid rivals ESPN and NBC for the rights to screen the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in the U.S. Fox paid around $500 million for the English rights with Telemundo forking out another $600 million for Spanish.

Earlier this year, FIFA announced TV rights deals in the Middle East, parts of Asia and Latin America worth around $1.7 billion.

FIFA generated an estimated $2.4 billion from sales of media rights for the 2010 South Africa World Cup.

Reported by Matthew Grayson

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