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Fox netted a strong showing for its coverage of the 2018 MLS Cup, which saw Atlanta United defeat the Portland Timbers on Saturday.

The match, which was played in front of a record Major League Soccer crowd of 73,019 at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, drew 1.56 million viewers, the most to watch any prior MLS Cup since 1997, according to Nielsen media research.

That’s viewership increase of 91 percent over last year’s match, which didn’t even crack 1 million viewers (819,000). On Fox Sports streaming sources, the match pulled in an average minute audience of 23,212, ranking as Fox Sports’ most streamed MLS event ever.

Also Read: Amazon Bids on Disney's 22 Regional Sports Networks Acquired From Fox (Report)

Fox has made a big bet on soccer in recent years, having aired its first Men’s World Cup this past summer from Russia, which struggled in the ratings without the United States’ failure to qualify for the tournament.

Fox drew 11.3 million TV viewers for its coverage of the championship, which saw France defeat Croatia 4-2. But that was down 20 percent from the 14.1 million that watched ABC’s coverage in 2014 of Germany’s 1-0 win over Argentina. Those numbers include the pre- and post-match coverage, which can deflate the overall viewership. Leading up to the title match, Fox had been trending nearly 40 percent lower than 2014’s average viewership, so the final closed the gap a bit.

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With HBO throwing in the towel on boxing, one of its biggest fighters is heading to online streaming.

Canelo Alvarez has signed a five-year, 11-fight deal with DAZN, the sports streaming service led by former ESPN president John Skipper. The company claims Alvarez’s deal is the richest sports contract for any athlete in history.

ESPN reported it’s for $365 million, which would surpass the 13-year/$325 million contract that baseball star Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Miami Marlins in 2014 (he’s since been traded to the New York Yankees). A representative for DAZN did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for clarification on the actual dollar amount of the contract.

Also Read: HBO to Throw in The Towel on Live Boxing Matches After 45 Years

The deal begins with the Dec. 15 bout at Madison Square Garden against Rocky Fielding for his WBA Super Middleweight World Title.

“We are thrilled to be exclusive partners with Golden Boy Promotions and Oscar De La Hoya,” said Skipper, DAZN Group Executive Chairman. “By bringing Canelo’s fights to DAZN, we will turn his pay-per-view success into a growth engine for subscribers – a truly transformational moment for our business and the entire industry.”

Skipper, who resigned from ESPN after 27 years last December, joined DAZN’s parent company Perform Group as executive chairman in May. DAZN was launched just two years ago, and made its U.S. debut earlier this year.

Also Read: Ex-ESPN Boss John Skipper Lands New Job

As part of the deal, Golden Boy Promotions — Alvarez’s management company led by Oscar de la Hoya — will put on up to 10 fights each year on DAZN beginning in 2019. The DAZN-Golden Boy deal includes a large production element, which places Oscar De La Hoya as executive producer of the live fight nights.

Alvarez and Golden Boy were one of HBO’s biggest boxing draws. In 2014, HBO pried Alvarez and Golden Boy away from rival Showtime in a huge exclusive deal. But last month, HBO said it would no longer feature live boxing matches beginning next year, which had a programming staple for 45 years.

The deal between Alvarez and DAZN in landmark in another way: It will take one of boxing’s biggest draws off Pay-Per-View, where the sport makes the most of its money. The fights will be available in all DAZN markets, including the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan. The service is available for $9.99 per month.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wound up a sometimes-fraught visit to Germany on Saturday by condemning the treatment of soccer players of Turkish descent and urging "a joint stance against this racist drift."
www.foxnews.com | 9/29/18
The Latest on the Turkish president's trip to Germany (all times local): 6:15 p.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has wound up a sometimes-fraught visit to Germany by condemning the treatment of soccer players of Turkish descent and urging "a joint stance against this racist drift."
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Germany was picked as the host of the 2024 European soccer championship on Thursday, beating Turkey in a vote by officials from UEFA.
www.nytimes.com | 9/27/18

The tug-o’-war between 21st Century Fox and Comcast for British pay-TV company Sky PLC is finally over, with Comcast submitting a winning bid of roughly $39 billion in an auction on Saturday.

The fate of Sky was decided during a three-round auction held by the U.K. Takeover Panel, a rarely-used tactic in handling mergers and acquisitions in the U.K. Comcast’s triumph came after the company offered  £17.28 (roughly $22.59) per share for the company in the final round, handily outbidding Fox’s offer of  £15.67 (roughly $20.49).

Also Read: Why Do Comcast and Fox Want to Buy Sky So Much?

“We note the increased cash offer for the fully diluted share capital of Sky by Comcast, and that it has been recommended by the Independent Committee of Sky,” Fox said in a statement. “21CF is considering its options regarding its own 39 percent shareholding in Sky and will make a further announcement in due course. Sky is a remarkable story and we are proud to have played such a significant role in building the incredible value reflected today in Comcast’s offer.”

U.S. companies have been looking more frequently internationally for a way to further build scale to compete against the rising tide of deep-pocketed tech companies — like Amazon and Netflix — invading their turf. This made Sky an attractive asset.

Sky’s businesses could grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. Sky counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

Sky should fit in nicely with Comcast’s other assets, namely NBCUniversal, with its mix of entertainment, sports and news content. In February, Sky extended its rights deal with the English Premier League through 2022, among the world’s most popular (and thus, valuable) sports leagues. That would work well with Comcast, which holds the U.S. TV rights for the British soccer league via NBCUniversal, also through 2022.

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Winning Sky serves as a pretty nice consolation prize for Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who had attempted to outflank Disney in its pursuit of Fox, before eventually bowing out to focus on acquiring the British pay-TV company.

The U.K. Takeover Panel, which oversees all mergers and acquisitions, sets a deadline that, if there are still multiple suitors for a company, will trigger an auction to determine the winning bidder.

The Takeover Panel set the auction deadline to ensure that the company being acquired wasn’t “under siege” for too long, while giving the shareholders for the potential buyers enough time to review all relevant materials from the proposal. Per the U.K.’s Takeover Code, that deadline was 46 days after the most recent offer was formally published with the U.K. Stock Exchange.

The Takeover panel will publish details of each side’s offer after the auction no later than Sept. 24.

Reps for Comcast did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

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The battle between 21st Century Fox and Comcast for British pay-TV company Sky PLC appears headed for a little-used aspect of how mergers and acquisitions are handled in the U.K.: An auction.

In the event that 21st Century Fox and Comcast find themselves at auction for Sky, here’s how the process plays out.

The U.K. Takeover Panel, which oversees all mergers and acquisitions, sets a deadline that, if there are still multiple suitors for a company, will trigger an auction to determine the winning bidder. The Takeover Panel does this to ensure that the company being acquired isn’t “under siege” for too long, while giving the shareholders for the potential buyers enough time to review all relevant materials from the proposal. Per the U.K.’s Takeover Code, that deadline is 46 days after the most recent offer is formally published with the U.K. Stock Exchange.

In this case, Fox and Comcast have until Saturday, 5 p.m. local time to either bow out or make their “best and final offer” for Sky. In the meantime, the three companies will negotiate the rules of the auction, which the Takeover Panel will formally announce on Friday.

Also Read: Comcast Drops Bid for Fox Assets to Focus on Sky Instead

Typically, the auction would last for five consecutive days, but the Panel allows for the parties to figure out the process themselves, as long as it doesn’t skirt any official rules. There have only been three British takeover situations since 2007 that have involved auctions handled by the regulator, per an analysis by Reuters.

The reason for Sky to take this to the auction stage would be to maximize the value for its shareholders, hoping the auction-style setting will force Comcast and Fox to keep one-upping each other.

Currently, Comcast holds the superior bid at $34 billion (£25.9 billion), roughly $2 billion higher than Fox’s offer of $32.5 billion (£24.5 billion). Comcast’s all-cash offer translates to £14.75 a share, which is roughly five percent higher than Fox’s £14 a share bid. Comcast’s offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.

Also Read: Comcast Increases Bid for Sky to $34 Billion

However, since Fox already owns 39 percent of the company, it needs only to convince another 12 percent to vote in its favor, whereas Comcast has to convince 51 percent of the board to vote in its favor.

With this headed towards an auction, it begs the question: Why does everyone want Sky so much?

More and more, U.S. companies have been looking internationally for a way to further build scale to compete against the rising tide of deep-pocketed tech companies — like Amazon and Netflix — invading their turf.

Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. Sky counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

Also Read: Fox and Disney Shareholders Vote to Approve $71.3 Billion Merger

Sky would fit in nicely with Comcast’s other assets, namely NBCUniversal, with its mix of entertainment, sports and news content. In February, Sky extended its rights deal with the English Premier League through 2022, among the world’s most popular (and thus, valuable) sports leagues. That would work well with Comcast, which holds the U.S. TV rights for the British soccer league via NBCUniversal, also through 2022.

Fox’s stake in Sky is part of its $71.3 billion sale of film and TV assets to Disney. CEO Bob Iger has previously referred to Sky as the “crown jewel” of Fox assets. Disney could use Sky’s broadband services to launch its upcoming service, which will debut at the end of 2019, in Europe.

Also, there’s a bit of corporate gamesmanship involved. Comcast made its own bid to buy the Fox assets instead of Disney, which forced Disney to increase its offer from its initial $52.4 billion that Fox accepted last year.

You can imagine that Iger would love to return the favor.

21st Century Fox declined to comment for this story, while representatives for Comcast and Sky did not return TheWrap’s request for comment.

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www.thewrap.com | 9/20/18
An embarrassing World Cup. Accusations of discrimination from a star player. German soccer tries to heal through its Euro 2024 campaign.
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Some of us can barely make it from the kitchen to our bedroom without tripping over our on feet, so we’re endlessly impressed by these performers who get back up on the stage, no matter how many times they end up nosediving in front of a crowd.

These 14 onstage wipeouts were particularly memorable, and prove that cringing is basically an occupational hazard when you’re a music star.

1. Blake Shelton

After falling during a concert in Pendleton, Oregon, in July 2018, PEOPLE’s 2017 Sexiest Man Alive turned to Twitter to poke fun at his actions and ask for the evidence.

“Ok Pendleton I know somebody is bound to have video of me falling on stage last night!!” he posted. “Please!! I have to see it!!! Post that s—t! And yes I had been drinking. A lot.”

Fans supplied footage from multiple angles of Gwen Stefani’s boyfriend stumbling before righting himself and picking up his guitar.

My friend @devore_dani caught it! pic.twitter.com/OL4oCZrhSK

— Alexandrea Rivera (@AlexandreaH13) July 15, 2018

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Shelton pointed a finger at Pitbull, his fellow performer at the Pendleton Whisky Music Fest, for getting him a little too lubricated. “By the way @pitbull…I blame you,” Shelton wrote on Twitter. “It was my attempt at competing with your show… I am a dancing son of a bitch when I don’t take a 10 second giant s—t fall….”

2. Shawn Mendes
A mid-set jump turned into a mid-set jump straight down into the pit during the singer’s July 2018 concert in Quebec City.

OH NO @ShawnMendes LOL

pic.twitter.com/sVw2JILkLJ

— Shawn Legendas (@ShawnLegendas) July 9, 2018

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A Twitter user caught the scary moment, but Mendes replied — in good health. “LOL yep. Im ok but also that was insane hahahahaha,” he wrote.

3. Madonna
Madge famously ended up on the floor when her theatrical cape failed to properly rip off near the beginning of a 2015 Brit Awards performance.

The musical icon was able to stand back up and finish the song, but she later revealed that the wardrobe malfunction had put her in serious danger of a head injury. “I didn’t hurt my butt, I hurt my head,” she revealed on The Jonathan Ross Show. “I know how to fall. I’ve fallen off my horse many times, and I tucked, and I have good core strength, but the thing is, I had a little bit of a whiplash, and I smacked the back of my head. So, there was a man standing over me with a flashlight until about 3 a.m. making sure that I was still compos mentis.”

“It was a horrible nightmare, because I like to be amazing,” she added. “Seriously, I rehearse and I rehearse and I rehearse, so that when I do the show it’s effortless and I create magic, and I did the opposite.”

4. Demi Lovato
Warning: Stages are slippery when went. Lovato found out as much while performing at a pool party to promote her 2015 single “Cool For The Summer” in some very high heels.

Lovato was a good sport about the fall, quickly jumping into the pool after the tumble and even posting a video of the incident on Instagram with “#NOTCoolForTheSummer.”

5. Luke Bryan
The country singer got a little caught up in his booty shaking at a 2014 concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, and ended up falling right off the stage.

Security guards helped Bryan back up and he was able to finish the concert mostly unharmed.

The next day, Bryan updated his fans on Twitter, revealing that he received a few stitches after the mishap.

I'm good. Few stitches.

— Luke Bryan (@LukeBryanOnline) May 30, 2014

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Like any good managers, his team also chimed in to share some pics and throw some playful jabs at the star, who had taken a few previous mid-show tumbles.

.@LukeBryanOnline Charlotte uh oh, gone and fell off stage, #ouch pic.twitter.com/GpwNDojiHQ

— Brian O'Connell (@boccountry) May 30, 2014

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New set list @LukeBryanOnline ready set …. pic.twitter.com/e1eOyJZ7Ts

— Brian O'Connell (@boccountry) May 30, 2014

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6. Justin Bieber
When you perform as much as Bieber, you’re bound to have a few falls, so it’s no surprise that the “Sorry” singer has several spills to his name.

One particularly memorable snafu took place in Saskatoon, Canada, in 2016, when he didn’t notice an open trap door. Bieber seemingly disappeared as he fell through the hole in the stage with an alarming thud.

Luckily, Biebs was able to crawl back out unscathed. “Good thing I’m like a cat and I landed on my feet — oh my God,” he joked to the audience. “That scared the f— outta me.”

The resilient star also took a handful of other Purpose tour falls:

#CrewGoals always there when you have a fall @justinbieber you clutz, hope you're okay doe pic.twitter.com/hmn0iSTsj4

— lauren (@_ohsnapitsloz) June 30, 2016

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7. Harry Styles
The One Direction charmer completely ate it at a 2015 show in San Diego, California.

The boy bander appeared to get tripped up by his microphone as the group sang “Through The Dark,” prompting him to go down in spectacular fashion.

Styles recovered with a smile, and the One Direction boys later reminisced on their many stumbles on Ellen. “That one was bad,” Styles said of the San Diego accident. “The worst part of that is all my friends were there. Right at the front.”

8. Ariana Grande
Grande’s ultra high heels may have been her literal downfall during a Toronto concert.

After the slip, the star quickly got back to her feet and continued strutting and belting out “Bang Bang.”

9. Iggy Azalea
The rapper fell clear off the stage while performing “Fancy” at a 2014 MTV Video Music Awards benefit concert.

Impressively, Azalea continued to rap from below the stage as security scrambled to help her back up.

After the show, Azalea shared a video of the fall on Instagram, writing “Sorry but it would be a crime not to share this with you all, I know I laughed. #StillFinishedtheSongTho #KeptOnRapping #TheShowMustGoOn.”

10. Meghan Trainor
At a May 2016 appearance on The Tonight Show, Trainor collapsed on the floor at the end of her song “Me Too.”

Although she appeared to hurt her ankle on the way down, the singer was in good spirits after the fall, laughing as host Jimmy Fallon joined her on the floor.

Trainor took to Twitter to assure her fans that she was okay after the late night blunder.

Haha I didn't feel it till hours later . I'm all good tho. Barely a scratch https://t.co/kVMiCxFJnM

— Meghan Trainor (@Meghan_Trainor) May 13, 2016

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11. Selena Gomez
A pesky set of stairs cost Gomez her first fall of her 2016 Revival tour.

Selena Gomez is the only person who can fall in front of thousands of people & still be cute pic.twitter.com/b915Y4dGqh

— Serena Harwell (@serenamaria) June 20, 2016

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The starlet was singing “Kill Em with Kindness” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when she went down. “First fall on the whole damn tour. Can you believe it,” she laughed, clearly unfazed by the slip that may have embarrassed us mere mortals.

12. Pink
A performance in Nuremberg, Germany, became a very scary situation in 2010 when a harness used for one of Pink’s aerial stunts was not properly secured.

The harness launched her into the crowd barricade during “So What,” sending the popstar from the arena to a hospital.

Pink tweeted to her fans on her way to get medical care, and later updated them with the good news that she had not been seriously injured.

To all my nurnberg fans- I am so so so sorry to end the show that way.I am embarassed and very sorry. I'm in ambulance now but I will b fine

— P!nk (@Pink) July 15, 2010

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Ok all my lovers out there- nothings broken, no fluid in the lungs, just seriously sore. I made that barricade my b*tch!!!! Thanx nurnberg:(

— P!nk (@Pink) July 15, 2010

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13. Dave Grohl
In perhaps the most serious accident of them all, the Foo Fighters frontman suffered a broken leg after falling from a Gothenburg, Sweden, stage.

“I think I just broke my leg. I think I really broke my leg,” Grohl told the crowd from the ground. Amazingly, Grohl returned to the stage about an hour later via a stretcher, and proceeded to perform with his freshly broken leg for over two more hours.

The band tweeted proof of their fearless leader’s injury after the show.

Thank you Gothenburg. That was amazing. pic.twitter.com/BXvuxIfVEv

— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) June 12, 2015

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Unfortunately the broken bone forced the Foo Fighters to cancel several subsequent shows. But Grohl eventually returned to the tour with his broken leg and simply performed while sitting on a throne.

His orthopedic surgeon,  Dr. Lew C. Schon, even joined him onstage at a Boston show.

14. Ed Sheeran
While opening for bestie Taylor Swift on her 2013 Red tour, the singer-songwriter misjudged his ability to jump onto a piece of sound equipment, and ended up heading for the floor.

Sheeran launched from the fall into a rather impressive somersault-type move, and continued singing “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” for the Omaha, Nebraska, audience.

people.com | 7/17/18

France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia in the World Cup Final was as sweet as a dessert crepe, though the match didn’t exactly net Fox’s TV ratings goal in the states.

Fox drew 11.3 million TV viewers for its coverage of Sunday’s final, which was down 20 percent from the 14.1 million that watched ABC’s coverage in 2014 of Germany’s 1-0 win over Argentina. Those numbers include the pre- and post-match coverage, which can deflate the overall viewership.

On Sunday, Fox Sports brought in another 500,000 viewers via streaming, on average.

Four years ago, ABC pulled in 17.3 million during just the match time frame. Fox did not provide comparable figures.

Also Read: Pussy Riot Members Jailed, Charged for Storming Field During World Cup Final in Russia (Video)

An additional 9.2 million watched on Univision in 2014, bringing the total to 26.5 million viewers in America. Telemundo, who took over Spanish-language rights from Univision, did not have ratings for Sunday’s final at press time.

Though 11.3 million viewers is still a nice broadcast television audience haul in general — especially on a Sunday morning — none of this tournament went as well as the network would have hoped when Fox shelled out $425 million for the World Cup rights, outbidding incumbent ESPN.

Leading up to Sunday’s game, Fox had been trending nearly 40 percent lower than 2014’s average viewership, so the final closed the gap a bit.

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Fox was already facing a tall order to come anywhere close to the record soccer TV ratings that ESPN and ABC pulled in four years ago from Brazil. Brazil was just one hour ahead of the U.S. east coast, which meant most of those matches aired around primetime, whereas Russia was seven hours ahead. And when the United States failed to qualify for the tournament, it made things even worse.

The next World Cup in 2022 will be held from Middle East country Qatar, and moved to the winter to avoid the unbearably hot summer temperatures in the Gulf. But Fox did have one major celebration and it came before the tournament even started. The 2026 tournament, the last under Fox’s TV rights deal with FIFA, will be held in North America, with most of the matches emanating from the U.S.

All of this could have been worse, of course: Fox executives could be getting treated like members of Pussy Riot right now.

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www.thewrap.com | 7/17/18

On Sunday, Fox will wrap up its first Men’s World Cup as Croatia will take on France for international soccer bragging rights for the next four years.

In what shouldn’t come as a surprise — considering the U.S. failed to qualify and the TV-unfriendly time zones in Russia — viewership has been down considerably compared to 2014’s World Cup. Fox has averaged 2.6 million viewers through the first 62 matches on the Fox broadcast network and Fox Sports 1, down nearly 40 percent from what ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC averaged through the same time frame four years ago (4.3 million), according to Nielsen figures.

One bright spot: ESPN had the benefit of four matches featuring the United States, including their group stage match against Portugal, which netted a record 18.2 million viewers. ABC pulled in 17.3 million for the final between Germany and Argentina in 2014.

Also Read: World Cup: Germany vs Sweden Gives Fox Big Win With 5.4 Million Viewers

It’s not all bad news for Fox. As the tournament has progressed, ratings have trended upward. The July 7 quarterfinal matchup between host Russia and Croatia drew 6.4 million viewers, the most for any quarterfinal match on U.S. television. For Fox’s two semifinal games this week on July 10-11, the network averaged 5.03 million viewers, off by just 6 percent compared to 2014.

Fox, which shelled out $425 million to out-bid ESPN for World Cup TV rights, was already facing a tall order to come anywhere close to the record soccer TV ratings that ESPN and ABC pulled in four years ago from Brazil. Brazil was just one hour ahead of the U.S. east coast, which meant most of those matches aired around primetime, whereas Russia was seven hours ahead. And when the United States failed to qualify for the tournament, it made things even worse.

The next World Cup in 2022 will be held from Middle East country Qatar, and moved to the winter to avoid the unbearably hot summer temperatures in the Gulf. But Fox did have one major celebration and it came before the tournament even started. The 2026 tournament, the last under Fox’s TV rights deal with FIFA, will be held in North America, with most of the matches emanating from the U.S.

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www.thewrap.com | 7/13/18

Check out the week’s most emotionally reacted-to TV personalities and characters.

A French soccer player, a NASCAR driver and a competitive eater had viewers talking passionately on social media over the past seven days.

The Wrap has partnered with Canvs, the emotion measurement AI company, for a weekly look at some of the characters and personalities that have TV viewers the most worked up on social media. The data below covers July 4-10 and is drawn from the most emotionally reacted-to television programs, including broadcast, cable, streaming and PPV.

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The World Cup continues to be a big driver of emotional conversation, and this time around it was Kylian Mbappé sparking viewer comments during the France vs. Belgium match that was broadcast on Fox and Telemundo and generated 52,804 Emotional Reactions (ERs). The 19-year-old French forward has scored three goals in the tournament, and although France’s sole (and game-winning) goal was by Samuel Umtiti, people were talking about Mbappé’s mad skills in droves.

Also Read: Michelle Wolf and Seth Meyers Complain About the World Cup and Each Other (Video)

Mbappe with a beautiful pass omg

— asiel (@asieldiarte) July 10, 2018


Mbappe is on another level. My god.

— David (@LegsFeedWolf80) July 10, 2018


mbappe best player of the world cup

— Gera (@ojdidthatshit) July 10, 2018


MBAPPE THAT BACK HEEL WAS SICK

— Mr. Mundial (@AnthonyNunnezz) July 10, 2018

Also Read: Cristiano Ronaldo in Early Talks for Facebook Watch Series

NBC’s broadcast of the Monster Energy Cup Series: Coke Zero Sugar 400 generated 24,290 ERs, and even though Erik Jones ultimately won, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove more conversation — and much of it was negative. The driver sparked viewer anger during the race when, during lap 55, he caused a 25-car crash and then later triggered more incidents. When he got into a crash himself, people were more than amused, some citing karma (Stenhouse finished the race at 17th).

How many cars can Stenhouse wreck tonight? What an idiot!

— Willie Tolbert (@wjt369) July 8, 2018


Way to go Stenhouse..jackass!!!

— Ronald Silvers (@SilversRonald) July 8, 2018


LOOOOOL! As soon as Stenhouse wrecked the crowed went crazy!

— Jett Kraus (@RacingMDK) July 8, 2018


Hey Stenhouse Karma is a Bitch #NASCAR #CokeZeroSugar400

— Michelle Batton (@MichelleB2019) July 8, 2018

ESPN’s broadcast of the 2018 Hot Dog Eating Contest prompted 16,378 ERs, with Joey Chestnut snagging the win (his third in a row and 11th in the last 12 years) with a world-record 74 hot dogs consumed. Viewers cheered him on with a mix of witty remarks and sheer amazement (although of course there was some snark thrown in).

Is Joey Chestnut the greatest athlete of our time?

— Adam Lichtenstein (@ABLichtenstein) July 4, 2018


Death. Taxes. Joey Chestnut ????

— Joseph Constantin (@JConstantin10) July 4, 2018


Joey Chestnut is must see TV

— JB (@Joe_Lando50) July 4, 2018


I love hot dogs except when I see Joey Chestnut eating them.

— Tawrrence Jackson (@Tawjac) July 4, 2018

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www.thewrap.com | 7/12/18

Comcast has increased its offer for British pay-TV company Sky PLC to $34 billion (£25.9 billion), roughly $2 billion higher than Fox’s most recent offer.

Earlier on Wednesday, Fox raised its own offer for the media giant to $32.5 billion (£24.5 billion). Comcast said that its increased offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.

Comcast’s new all-cash offer translates to £14.75 a share, which is roughly five percent higher than Fox’s £14 a share bid.

Also Read: Fox Raises Sky Bid to $32 Billion, Besting Comcast Offer for British Media Giant

“Comcast has long admired Sky and believes it is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast,” the company said in its release about the new offer. “Today’s announcement further underscores Comcast’s belief and its commitment to owning Sky.”

The move by Comcast is the latest volley between CEO Brian Roberts and Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch over who gets the keys to Sky, which counts nearly 23 million customers in key parts of Europe, including Germany, Italy and Austria, along with the U.K. and Ireland.

In the U.S., Comcast is still battling with Disney to buy the film and TV assets from Fox. Fox’s stake in Sky is part of its proposed merger with Disney, though the deal was not contingent on that. Fox has set a July 27 shareholder meeting to formally vote on the Disney sale, which has already received approval from the Department of Justice.

Also Read: If Comcast Loses Fox to Disney, CEO Brian Roberts Still Has Options

Sky’s businesses would grow Comcast’s international revenue from 9 percent of its overall revenue to 25 percent. For Fox, Sky is a bit of a passion project for Rupert Murdoch, who founded the satellite broadcaster in 1990, and already owns 39 percent of the company and has had his eye on gaining full control for years.

The UK government had already approved Comcast earlier offer in June, with Matt Hancock, then-secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, who said at the time that “the proposed merger does not raise public interest concerns.”

However, Fox was given the go-ahead to continue efforts to purchase Sky as well, on the condition that Fox sells off Sky’s 24-hour news channel to Disney in the planned sale of certain Fox film and television assets to the Mouse House. Disney has pledged a 15-year, $2 billion commitment to fund Sky News if it acquires the channel in the Fox deal.

Also Read: Why Do Comcast and Fox Want to Buy Sky So Much?

Hancock, meanwhile, resigned amid a British cabinet shakeup this week and has been replaced in his role by Jeremy Wright.

According to Bloomberg, the British government has already signaled willingness to approve Fox’s offer, with its final decision due Thursday.

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If Comcast Loses Fox to Disney, CEO Brian Roberts Still Has Options

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www.thewrap.com | 7/11/18
Now that Germany's out of the World Cup, star defender Jerome Boateng has touched down in Los Angeles to enjoy some time off ... where he's contemplating his professional future.  There are rumblings that the 29-year-old Bayern Munich star…

www.tmz.com | 7/3/18
Brazilian forward Ronaldinho Gaucho gained fame for fronting Euro teams Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and Milan ... but is most notably a member of the Brazilian dream team who won the 2002 FIFA World Cup against Germany. Guess what he looks like…

www.tmz.com | 7/3/18

Telemundo has suspended two of their on-air hosts after the pair made racist gestures while speaking about the South Korean soccer team at the World Cup.

James Tahhan and Janice Bencosme were suspended indefinitely from the Spanish-speaking channel’s morning program “Un Nuevo Dia (A New Day)” after the pair made slant-eyed motions on their face on live television.

In a statement, the network, which is owned by NBC Universal, said it was “extremely disappointed” by the incident.

“We are extremely disappointed with our morning show contributors James Tahhan’s and Janice Bencosme’s gestures referring to the South Korean national soccer team,” it said. “Our company takes this kind of inappropriate behavior very seriously as it is contrary to our values and standards.”

Bencosme and Tahhan made the gestures while celebrating the surprise defeat of Germany by the South Korean team on Wednesday.

www.thewrap.com | 6/28/18
Germany’s World Cup loss meant Mexico would live to fight another day — and fans had South Korea to thank.
www.nytimes.com | 6/28/18
South Koreans on Thursday spoke of pride and heartbreak after watching their national soccer team knock off defending champions Germany in the biggest upset of this year's World Cup, but one that still failed to qualify them for the next round.
www.foxnews.com | 6/28/18
Discovery and German TV giant ProSiebenSat.1 are pushing further into OTT, expanding their joint streaming service and targeting 10 million users within two years. They have also asked Germany’s other commercial and public broadcasters to join them in rolling out the free and paid-for local service – with exclusive TV content, movies and sport – […]
variety.com | 6/25/18

Saturday’s dramatic World Cup competition between Germany and Sweden set a new record as the most-watched group stage match not involving the U.S. team, with an average of 5.4 million viewers and a peak of 6.7 million viewers.

Kicking off at 2 p.m. ET, the match saw Germany, the defending world champions, on the verge of elimination at halftime when Sweden scored a first-half goal. But the Germans tied the game a few minutes into the second half and, in the final minute of the match, midfielder Toni Kroos curved the ball into the net on a short, free kick to give Germany the victory and the hopes alive of repeating as champions.

Also Read: How Summer Blockbusters Are Dribbling Around the World Cup Schedule

Fox reports that this is the most-watched non-U.S. World Cup match at this stage of the competition since 1990, when the U.S. qualified for the tournament for the first time in 40 years. It was also the most-watched English-language soccer telecast of any kind since the U.S. victory in the Women’s World Cup final in 2015.

With the Yanks out of the tournament and a larger time zone difference than the 2014 tournament in Brazil, ratings are down across the board compared to the last World Cup. However, Fox reports that 10 days into the tournament, average viewership is currently sitting at 2.125 million, up 14 percent from the group stage of the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

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www.thewrap.com | 6/25/18

Check out the week’s most emotionally reacted-to TV personalities and characters.

A “Black Panther” fan-favorite and three soccer superstars had viewers talking passionately on social media over the past seven days.

The Wrap has partnered with Canvs, the emotion measurement AI company, for a weekly look at some of the characters and personalities that have TV viewers the most worked up on social media. The data below covers June 13-19 and is drawn from the most emotionally reacted-to television programs, including broadcast, cable, streaming and PPV.

Also Read: MTV Awards: Michael B Jordan's 'Shocked' He Won Best Villain With Roseanne Barr Out There (Video)

Of the big drivers of emotionality during the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards, which generated 147,644 Emotional Reactions (ERs), one standout was Chadwick Boseman. He took home two awards for his performance in “Black Panther”: Best Hero and Best Actor in a Movie. Viewers particularly loved how he gave his hero award to James Shaw Jr., the man who stopped the Waffle House gunman earlier this year.

Also Read: Tiffany Haddish's Best Jokes From the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards

That was so nice of @chadwickboseman to give him the award! #MTVAwards

— #TannehillSZN ???????? (@Richboyhawkins1) June 19, 2018


IM CRYING I LOVE CHADWICK BOSEMAN

— bea ???? (@lovelytruce) June 19, 2018


He just gave away his award! What a man!!! Chadwick Boseman #mtvawards

— Brenda L Thomas (@AuthorBLThomas) June 19, 2018


How can you not love @chadwickboseman after that? Wow.

— Shannon Boorstein (@ShannyLou929) June 19, 2018

Also Read: World Cup 2018: How to Watch on TV, Online

Cristiano Ronaldo was by far the biggest driver of conversation during the 2018 FIFA World Cup match between Spain and Portugal, which was broadcast on Fox and Telemundo and generated over 110,400 ERs. Although Ronaldo usually plays for Real Madrid, he joins Portuguese countrymen for the World Cup, and during the first match netted himself a hat trick, or three goals. Although the score ended up being tied at 3-3, viewers showered him with praise and adoration.

CRISTIANO RONALDO IS A LEGEND

— Joaquin (@JNlatinoginga) June 15, 2018


ALL HAIL THE GOD THAT IS RONALDO.

— Daniel Watt (@Danwatt8) June 15, 2018


One word.

WOW.

Take a bow Ronaldo!!! Unreal! ????????????????

— DAÛFIN (@daufinmusic) June 15, 2018


Ronaldo is good at soccer

— Scott Masterson (@cjanneyfan23) June 15, 2018

Two players stood out during the Germany vs. Mexico World Cup match (broadcast on Fox Sports and Telemundo with over 94,305 ERs): Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Hirving Lozano, both on the Mexican team. Lozano managed to score the match’s only goal, giving Mexico a surprise upset victory over Germany, while Chicharito seemed to frustrate viewers over and over again.

Also Read: Trevor Noah Is 'a Little Turned on, but Mostly Scared' by Russia's World Cup Image Makeover (Video)

I’ve been saying it for a few years, Hirving Lozano is a baller.

— Matt Delao (@mattdelao) June 17, 2018


Hirving Lozano is a national treasure protect him at any cost !

— Bricosuave (@bricosuavecito) June 17, 2018


Chicharito with the horrible pass

— Charles (@CharlesDynasty_) June 17, 2018


Reason 9000 I hate Chicharito

— Q (@ItsDMcCumber18) June 17, 2018

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www.thewrap.com | 6/20/18
A quake was “possibly because of mass jumping” — moments after the Mexican men’s soccer team scored a goal against powerhouse Germany.
www.nytimes.com | 6/18/18
Mexico wrote its plan for victory over Germany six months ago. That it worked, that the Germans were that predictable, should set off alarms.
www.nytimes.com | 6/17/18
Thousands of exuberant Mexican soccer fans took to the streets Sunday to cheer their national team's long-shot win against Germany in Mexico's first match of the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament.
www.foxnews.com | 6/17/18
Germany is better at soccer than just about everyone, and the analytics operation is a step ahead of the competition, too.
www.nytimes.com | 6/15/18
With just a day to go until the 2018 World Cup begins, BBC Sport looks back on Germany's iconic 7-1 hammering of 2014 hosts Brazil.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/13/18

Universal has released “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” two weeks ahead of its U.S. release in 48 countries and has taken the No. 1 spot in all of them with $151.1 million grossed worldwide.

The fifth film in the “Jurassic” franchise was particularly a big hit in South Korea, where it has made $27.2 million and has set a new opening day record and a studio opening weekend record. Other top markets include the U.K. ($19.9 million), France ($10 million), Spain ($9.5 million), and Germany $9.1 million. All of these countries have teams that will be competing in the FIFA World Cup next weekend, and Universal has released the film there to give it a strong runway before the international soccer tournament kicks off.

Also Read: How Summer Blockbusters Are Dribbling Around the World Cup Schedule

Jurassic World is a genre of one, and each film within this franchise is engineered as a global event,” said Duncan Clark, Universal’s President of International Distribution.  “Audiences gravitate to the nostalgia, storytelling and spectacle, and from this outstanding foundation we are set for a lengthy international playout, with major markets–including China, Australia, Latin America and North America–yet to open.”

On IMAX screens, “Fallen Kingdom” made $8 million from 277 locations, and is expected to make much more when the sequel arrives in China on June 15. After that will come Australia and Brazil on June 21, and North America on June 22.

While “Fallen Kingdom” isn’t expected to match the then-summer record $1.67 billion the first “Jurassic World” made worldwide in 2015, the film is well on its way to becoming Universal’s next big billion dollar hit as they attempt to restore the “Jurassic” series to the tentpole franchise status it enjoyed in the 90s. In the U.S., “Fallen Kingdom” is projected for an opening of $130-140 million.

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www.thewrap.com | 6/10/18
With four days to go until the 2018 World Cup begins, BBC Sport looks back on the last two goals of England's 4-2 win over West Germany in the 1966 final.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/10/18
With six days to go before the 2018 World Cup, BBC Sport looks back on Mario Gotze's late winning strike for Germany against Argentina in the 2014 final.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/8/18
With six days to go before the 2018 World Cup, BBC Sport looks back on Mario Gotze's late winning strike for Germany against Argentina in the 2014 final.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/8/18

Next week, the FIFA World Cup will kick off in Russia and, inevitably, monopolize the attention of countless millions of soccer fans worldwide. So if you’re a Hollywood studio with a major summer blockbuster coming out over the next four weekends, how do you work around the biggest single-event sports competition in the world?

Universal and Disney have adopted differing release strategies for their respective “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp” to deal with the singular World Cup challenge. Particularly in Europe, where several major markets have teams expected to make runs deep into the tournament. For Universal, that’s a large reason why “Fallen Kingdom” is being released this week in 48 countries, well before American audiences get to see it.

Duncan Clark, Universal’s head of international distribution, says Europe will get “Fallen Kingdom” two weeks ahead of the U.S. in order to give the film eight days in theaters before the World Cup kicks off. Eight of the countries in this first release wave will have teams competing in the Cup’s opening weekend, including defending champion Germany.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Crumbled at the Box Office

“The first couple of weeks there are games every day, but once you get to the playoff rounds the matches happen every three days or so,” he said. “Sometimes you have a matchup at that point between two major teams, but on the flipside you could have a top country in a match that isn’t a must-win or is against a nominal opponent.”

One territory that studios won’t have to worry about is South America. Even though Argentina and Brazil are perennial World Cup contenders, the time zone difference — the farthest-west part of Russia is 6 hours ahead of Brazil — means that those countries will be watching Neymar and Messi compete in the morning, well before primetime for movie theaters.

Disney, meanwhile, has two films that will be competing against the World Cup: “The Incredibles 2” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” For the Mouse House, working their release dates around Europe’s passion for footy is a simple repeat of the release strategy it used three years ago when the first “Ant-Man” hit theaters in July.

Also Read: 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Ready to Finish Off 'Solo'

Back then, “Ant-Man” came out in the U.S. three weeks after Pixar’s “Inside Out,” a film that grossed $857 million worldwide. Disney always puts out summer Pixar films during weekends that coincide with kids in different countries being out on school break.

This meant that for “Ant-Man,” Disney had to treat the film differently than they do for most Marvel movies, where release dates are kept close together — in part to mitigate spoilers — and the film is released in the U.S. after a large suit of other countries. Instead, the U.S. was part of the first wave of release in mid-July, with 25 other countries getting “Ant-Man” in the following weeks.

So for “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” which will come out in the U.S. on the same weekend as the World Cup quarterfinals, Disney will stretch out the overseas dates to give Scott Lang some distance from “Incredibles 2.” Most notably, major soccer nations like France, Netherlands, Germany, the U.K., Spain, and Portugal will get the film after the World Cup final takes place on July 15.

Also Read: New 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Teaser Unleashes Ghost (Video)

Clark says that while the World Cup is always something that can’t be ignored when releasing summer flicks, the rapid popularity growth of sports over the past decade has given him and his peers plenty of experience dealing with it.

“For a long time now, we’ve been used to competing with sports events  as the broadcasting deals for the World Cup and the Olympics and other big sports have gotten bigger and bigger,” he said. “Two years ago, we were scheduling our films around the Olympics and the Euro Cup, and we did well with ‘The Secret Life of Pets.'”

“Sports have become so pervasive year-round, but they have a pretty fixed schedule and we know how to handle them.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Film Review: Dinos Return in a Sequel Drained of Suspense

'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Ready to Finish Off 'Solo'

'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Ready to Devour $130 Million on Opening Weekend

www.thewrap.com | 6/8/18

Discovery and the PGA Tour have struck a massive $2 billion deal for tournament rights outside of the United States through 2030. That’s a lot of green — and we’re not just talking about the putting surfaces.

The pricey (and lengthy) alliance, which tees off next year, will result in about 2,000 hours of content annually and nearly 150 tournaments, including The Players Championship, the FedExCup Playoffs, and the Presidents Cup. It will grant Discovery the exclusive non-U.S. television and multiplatform rights to all PGA Tour golf events by 2024 — here is a timetable for implementation:

Date
Markets
2019
Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain
2020
Poland, South Korea
2021
Belgium, China, Germany, South Africa
2022
Denmark, Finland, India, Norway, Sweden, UK
2024
France

Also Read: Former 'Deadliest Catch' Skipper Blake Painter Found Dead at 38

About those multiplatform rights: Together, Discovery and the PGA Tour will develop a new PGA Tour-branded OTT video streaming service to serve 220 markets and territories.

“Today is a fantastic day for golf fans around the world as Discovery proudly partners with the PGA Tour to create something that has never been done before,” David Zaslav, president and CEO, Discovery, said. “The long-term partnership between the PGA Tour and Discovery will create the new global Home of Golf, including delivering over 2000 hours of live content year-round and this prestigious sport’s greatest moments, stories and athletes. Following our successful first Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Discovery will contribute its strong global distribution and promotional infrastructure, in-market relationships, global sports expertise with direct-to-consumer platforms and brands to create a valuable new long-term Home of Golf offering in every market outside the U.S.”

“This is an exciting next step for the PGA Tour, which presents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and expand our media business outside the United States, better service our international broadcast partners, and drive fan growth with a deeply experienced strategic global partner,” added Jay Monahan, commissioner, PGA Tour. “This partnership aligns very well with the opening of PGA Tour offices in London, Tokyo and Beijing in recent years and will support our long-term objectives of growing the game of golf. It also will deliver more value to our sponsors as it presents a tremendous opportunity to engage new and diverse audiences around the world.”

Also Read: Jon Hamm's Impression of Ray Romano Playing Golf Is Simply the Best (Video)

The partnership will be led by Discovery’s Alex Kaplan, who is president and general manager of the new Discovery and PGA Tour venture. His management team will include the PGA Tour’s Thierry Pascal as head of distribution.

Kaplan previously was an executive vice president at Eurosport Digital, where he helped grow the Eurosport D2C business to over 1 million subscribers. Prior to joining Discovery, Kaplan was a senior vice president of global media distribution for the NBA.

“I am incredibly excited to work with David Zaslav and JB Perrette to take international coverage of PGA Tour golf to the next level,” Kaplan said. “We can’t wait to get started and build a world-class global platform and long-term distribution strategy to turn the vision of this partnership into a reality. By joining forces with the outstanding PGA Tour team, led by Jay Monahan and Rick Anderson, we have a unique opportunity to build an amazing product that will serve the fans with the golf content they love on every screen.”

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Rich Ross Out at Discovery: Company Unveils Post-Scripps Senior Executive Team

www.thewrap.com | 6/4/18
With 12 days to go until the start of the 2018 World Cup, BBC Sport remembers England's humiliating 4-1 defeat at the hands of Germany in the 2010 tournament.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/2/18
With 12 days to go until the start of the 2018 World Cup, BBC Sport remembers England's humiliating 4-1 defeat at the hands of Germany in the 2010 tournament.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/2/18
BBC Sport looks back on one of the most infamous incidents in World Cup history, when Netherlands player Frank Rijkaard spat in the hair of Germany's Rudi Voller.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/1/18
BBC Sport looks back on one of the most infamous incidents in World Cup history, when Netherlands player Frank Rijkaard spat in the hair of Germany's Rudi Voller.
www.bbc.co.uk | 6/1/18
A chant passed by word of mouth from Italian terraces to Portuguese ultras in a Germany subway to English fans ready to bring it to Ukraine, and a final against Real Madrid.
www.nytimes.com | 5/23/18
Strained diplomatic relations between Germany and Turkey have taken on a sporting dimension as they bid to host soccer's 2024 European Championship.
www.foxnews.com | 5/15/18
The head of Germany's soccer federation has criticized national team players Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan for having their picture taken with Turkey's president.
www.foxnews.com | 5/14/18
With 35 days to go until the 2018 World Cup, BBC sport remembers Frank Lampard's disallowed goal for England against Germany in the 2010 World Cup.
www.bbc.co.uk | 5/10/18
BBC Sport looks back on the 2002 World Cup final, where Ronaldo banished his demons from the 1998 final and scored two goals as Brazil beat Germany.
www.bbc.co.uk | 5/9/18