Channel Ten CEO Hamish McLennan has confirmed the former Australian Football League broadcaster "shapes as a player in the next rights deal," according to Jon Pierik of THE AGE.
Ten "shared the free-to-air rights with Nine and Foxtel between 2002 and 2006 and with Seven between 2007 and 2011, but opted to pull out of the latest deal," with Ten at the time interested more in securing the National Rugby League rights.
That "did not eventuate, leading to a falling out" between then Ten CEO Lachlan Murdoch and then News Corp. Australia CEO Kim Williams, the latter now an AFL commissioner.
Ten’s interest in the next round of AFL rights "could help bump up the price." McLennan said, "Yes, we’re keen. All depends on what is on offer." McLennan "understands the importance of live sport to his hopes of resurrecting Ten’s stocks, with cricket’s Twenty20 Big Bash League and the Sochi Winter Olympics providing strong ratings, and a temporary lift in share price." Ten "is also aware it needs a major winter sport to compete with Seven and Nine, the latter with the rights to the NRL."
The current five-year, A$1.25B ($1.17B) deal with Channel Seven, Foxtel and Telstra "expires after the 2016 season." Discussions on a new deal "are expected to intensify later this year" (THE AGE, 4/21