Australian Sports Rights Go Through Roof
The prices of Australian TV sports rights are growing faster than in any other major market, according to Nick Tabakoff of THE AUSTRALIAN. Research conducted by sports consulting group Repucom has shown TV deals for Australia's two premier football codes, National Rugby League and Australian Football League, over the past 18 months have "catapulted Australia to the top of an int'l list of growth rates for sports rights." The NRL in the past couple of months attracted a remarkable A$1.025B ($1.034) for its five-year rights for free-to-air and pay-TV from Nine Entertainment and Fox Sports -- "more than double what it was paid for its six-year rights in '06" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/29). In Sydney, Sally Jackson reported that TV networks said broadcast rights to the major sporting events "remain value for money." The "most obvious benefit for networks is ratings." Australian viewers "love live, local sport and where their eyeballs go, advertisers follow." Ten Network Sports Dir David Barham said, "It's a pretty simple equation: ratings and revenue. Ratings are going to drive revenue. Revenue drives sponsorship prices." However, it is not often networks profit much from broadcasting contracts for big sports, whose larger benefit are its "halo effects, boosting entire networks' images and delivering branding and cross-promotional opportunities across schedules." There is one downfall, however, called the "reverse halo." In "one of the best-known examples," after Seven lost the AFL broadcast rights at the end of the '01 season, viewers of its Sunday night Melbourne news bulletin fell by 27% in '02 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/29).