Football Euro 2000: World tunes in for TV spectacular

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The Independent Online
THERE IS nothing Mickey Mouse about the Auld Enemy play-offs but that hasn't stopped IBM from buying the rights to screen England's second leg against Scotland next Wednesday live at Disneyland in Paris.

"We got a call from IBM, who are holding a conference at Disneyland when the game is on," Paul McGrath, the head of sales at the rights' distribution company, CSI, said. "They said to us `We're having this conference, the game's going to be on, we're stuck.' The game's not being shown live in France, so we've arranged a close circuit feed to the conference, and around 200 people will be watching it. In effect we've licensed them the live rights in France."

The deal is one of many that have been brokered around the world to feed demand for the matches. Setanta Sports, a Dublin-based rights' distributor, has installed equipment in a Las Vegas hotel room so that England fans in town for the Lennox Lewis fight will not miss the football today.

Setanta will also provide the only live feeds to America and Australia. In the latter, less than 100 pubs will screen the game live across the country and in the handful of Sydney pubs where it will be shown, entry will cost pounds 9.

"For an England international, outside the finals of a major tournament, these games are certainly the biggest," McGrath said. Other markets to be taking the two games live include Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mauritius, 11 European countries, 27 countries in the Middle East and North Africa and 50m homes in China (including several million on pay-per-view).