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SBD Global/September 19, 2013/Media

Tokyo's Successful Bid To Host Olympics Piques Interest Of Australian Networks

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All three commercial Australian networks "have stepped back into the race for the next Olympic Games TV rights package," amid speculation of a three-Games, A$200M ($187M) rights deal, according to Michael Bodey of THE AUSTRALIAN. The announcement of Tokyo as the 2020 Olympics host boosted IOC "hopes for an inflated Australian rights deal, after local interest in the timezone-unfriendly Rio 2016 Games was weak." Previously, the IOC rejected a A$90M bid for those Games and told broadcasters that "it wanted to repackage Australian rights as one deal" encompassing the 2016 Rio, the 2018 Pyeong-chang Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games. Negotiations "were delayed until the announcement of the 2020 host." An Olympics source suggested that "Australian networks should now 'have to get busy and open their chequebooks.'" The source said, "We understand the networks have all had tough times and we were prepared to wait. Now the Olympic brand is going through the roof, particularly if you look at the U.S. rights deal." Unsurprisingly, the Australian networks "have attempted to talk down the value of the rights, pillorying suggestions the package could push" to the A$150M-A$200M mark. One network exec said, "You spend A$50M on each Games and you'll lose a lot of money. Rio at A$50M, we'd decline." Seven, Nine or Ten "will not commit publicly to bidding but all are currently assessing the numbers." A major concern "is what the free-to-air broadcast environment will look like when the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 come around" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/16).
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