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SBD Global/July 10, 2014/Media

Seven Scores Olympics Broadcast Bargain After Other Bidders Drop Out

Seven "is likely" to lose money as the sole Olympics rights holder.
The IOC "has failed to secure its asking price for the Australian media rights after Seven Network lodged the only firm bid" in a deal worth A$200M ($188M), according to Darren Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. Ten and Nine networks "pulled out of the race because of the huge cost outlay, the unfavourable time zone for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and weak conditions in the advertising market." The IOC wanted A$250M, but Ten and Nine "will instead turn their attention to other sports rights as they come to the market in the next two years." The "lack of bidding tension enabled Seven to lodge a lowball bid, and a deal is understood to have been agreed with the IOC about four weeks ago." Seven "was keen to recapture the rights it lost to the Nine Network after two decades as the home of the Olympics." Although Seven "is likely to lose money as the sole rights holder, there are other benefits including the promotional platform the large audiences provide" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/10). In Sydney, John Lehmann reported the deal "will mean a return to the Olympics for veteran broadcaster Bruce McAvaney, who famously called Cathy Freeman’s nation-stopping run for gold at the 2000 Sydney Games." Seven Chair Kerry Stokes, "a sports nut who was spotted in the royal box at Wimbledon with David and Victoria Beckham and actor Samuel L. Jackson, took a personal interest in negotiations." One source said, "Seven see the Olympics as part of their heritage and there’s plenty of excitement about the Games coming back" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/9).
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