Australia's Nine Network Slams Seven Over NRL Deal
Australia's Nine network has hit back at claims from Seven network CEO Don Voelte that its billion-dollar National Rugby League deal is "too costly and will harm its ability to invest in new programming," according to Darren Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. Nine exec David Hurley said, “It’s the standard lament from the mob that went toe-to-toe and dollar-for-dollar but were simply outflanked in the end.” Voelte said that the deal could cost Nine $42M a year, adding that he and Seven Chair Kerry Stokes believed the $1B agreement was "too costly and would harm Nine's ability to invest in programming." Voelte said, "I've got to tell you, yesterday Kerry and I and the other directors all sat around and said, 'We don't feel bad; we feel good.' We're feeling OK about this. No regrets whatsoever." Hurley, however, said that Voelte’s numbers were wrong. Hurley: “The figure Voelte has pulled out of his abacus is obviously a result of his looking down wrong end of his telescope. It’s nothing more than self-serving rewriting of very recent history” (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/23). In Sydney, Steve Mascord wrote that the NRL "has earned a similar figure from its TV rights -- after all -- as Australian Football. While everyone is fighting over their share of the case "like Boxing Day Sales maniacs, it's important not to forget what the AFL have spent their money on." As ABC broadcaster Clint Wheeldon pointed out on Twitter, the AFL "used its TV windfall to promote further national expansion while rugby league excapted having to expand nationally in order to get the money it was after" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/23).