V8 Supercars Signs New TV Deal Returning Sport To Fox Sports, Ten Network
Australia's Ten Network has "snatched the broadcast rights for the V8 Supercars from Seven Network in a stunning coup," according to Darren Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. Ten will take over the TV rights after the current two-year deal expires in Jan. 15. V8 Supercars confirmed the record A241M deal ($214M) deal with Ten, Fox Sports and pay-TV provider Foxtel. The agreement starts in '15 and covers all media rights consisting of A$196M cash and A$45M advertising. The move "will shock" industry execs as Seven was "widely expected to retain the rights." Seven execs had been confident of agreeing a new deal beyond Jan. 15. Seven issued a statement in which it said it offered a "substantial increase on the current rights agreement." The statement read, "V8 Supercars declined to build on this relationship beyond 2014" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/18).
PERFECT TEN: In Sydney, John Lehmann reported Ten CEO Hamish McLennan is making good on Chair Lachlan Murdoch's "determination to bring live sports programming back to the network." The focus on sports is "set to continue," with Olympic chiefs "expecting Ten to bid strongly" for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro and the 2020 Tokyo Games when the rights are offered to the market next year. Following shareholder approval for a new financing deal, Ten is "also likely to wage another full frontal assault" on the Australian Football League and National Rugby League rights when football chiefs "begin turning their attention to the next round of negotiations" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/19). Every practice, qualifying and racing will be broadcast live and in high definition around Australia. Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany said, "There will be weekly entertainment shows to complement the live race coverage and a massive promotional platform via not only our seven Fox Sports channels but the entire Foxtel platform" (Fox).
NO GUARANTEES: Also in Sydney, Sam Hall reported while the new agreement "is good news for the sport's owners, there are no guarantees it will be the best option for free-to-air viewers." V8 CEO James Warburton said that the new agreement "future-proofed the sport, but he was coy about whether fans would need to pay for the privilege." Warburton said, ''We'll release the 2015 schedule properly, but the reality is that there will be parts of the series which is exclusive to subscription and there will be parts of it which is simulcast on either free-to-air and on Foxtel'' (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/19).