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FIH broadcast director Neilson moves to World Bowling

Chris Neilson, TV and broadcast director at the Fédération Internationale de Hockey (FIH), has taken up a position at World Bowling, the international federation for ten pin bowling.

Neilson has reunited with Andy Oram, who left the FIH last year to become World Bowling’s new chief executive.

The move brings to an end Neilson’s three-year spell at the Lausanne-based international federation, which he initially joined as media rights manager.

He has previously worked in various rights and acquisitions, programming and scheduling roles in the UK broadcast sector during his time at commercial free-to-air broadcasters Channel 5 and ITV, plus pay-television duo BT Sport and Sky.

Oram was named as the World Bowling chief executive six months ago, having already come on board on a short-term contract implemented ahead of the 2019 World Bowling Women’s Championships in Las Vegas.

Oram is himself the former TV and broadcast director at the FIH.

Following a spell coaching cricket in Australia between 2011 and 2013, he became TV and broadcast director at Boxing Marketing Arm, the commercial rights sales arm of Aiba, the international boxing federation. He took up another position in Lausanne in 2015 when he joined the FIH as TV manager.

In 2018, World Bowling named Reddentes Sports, the Singapore-based sports rights consultancy, as its media rights consultancy.

International broadcast deals for the 2018 World Bowling Men’s Championships included agreements with i-Cable (Hong Kong), Tencent (China), TVRI (Indonesia), Astro (Malaysia), SPS HD (Mongolia), SkyNet (Myanmar) StarHub (Singapore), TrueVisions (Thailand) and the Vietnamese trio of HTV, VTV Cab and SCTV.

Outside of Asia, rights were distributed to broadcasters in Finland (Elisa), the Netherlands (Ziggo), North America (FloSports) and New Zealand (Sky). There was coverage available in other countries on the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Channel.

The FIH generated broadcast rights income of CHF3.94m (€3.74m/$4.08m) in 2018, according to recently-submitted accounts. The accounts, which have been audited by Ernst & Young, show that broadcast rights income rose from CHF2.98m in 2017 and remained the Lausanne-based federation’s chief non-Olympic revenue stream.

The FIH has sold its international media rights in-house since 2017.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing sports shutdown, the federation removed geo-blocking restrictions on full re-runs of FIH Hockey Pro League matches streamed on its FIH.live website. The federation also started to produce additional programmes for distribution among its 32 rights-holding broadcasters spanning 192 countries around the world.