IAN FRYKBERG, who was described as “a legend in broadcasting,” died on Sunday following a lengthy health battle, according to the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. Frykberg "was a key orchestrator of some of the richest sports broadcasting deals negotiated in the country," including National Rugby League, Australian Football League, and his "great love," rugby, which he had played "as an imposing front-rower." Fox Sports CEO PATRICK DELANY said that Frykberg "will be sorely missed." Delany: “Ian was a hugely respected colleague with whom we had a very close working relationship. Whenever Ian rang during a negotiation and started a conversation with ‘mate, mate, mate, mate’ I knew I wouldn’t like what he was about to tell me, but I also knew his opinion would be unbelievably well defined and backed up with extraordinary experience." His company, Int'l Sports Television, "was involved in the previous billion dollar rights deals" of the AFL and NRL, acting for Foxtel, and SANZAR’s A$472M ($437M) contract (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/31).
'FACELESS MAN': The SYDNEY MORNING HERALD wrote when Australians watch commercial TV, "they see the work of a master deal-maker who was among the first to realise that sport was television’s own form of Esperanto." Not only was Frykberg "a huge influence on how Australian -- and British -- sports deals are negotiated, but he also became the 'go to' man when rich men and sporting organisations were in deadlock." He "was there during the rugby league war, negotiated multimillion-dollar television deals" with the AFL, NRL, Football Federation Australia and Australian Rugby Union, yet he remained Australian sports’ "faceless man" (SMH, 3/31). In Sydney, Michael Bodey reported Frykberg "was regarded by his peers as a great 'old school' journo." One friend, DAVID HURLEY, called him “The original knockabout.” Nine CEO DAVID GYNGELL said, “Frykers will be sadly missed but long remembered as a bloke whose integrity was as huge as his frame. He was a great family man and throughout his career always the very best at his game. He was a pleasure to be with, and to deal with.” Seven Network Commercial Dir BRUCE MCWILLIAM said Frykberg was “the ultimate sports insider, trusted by so many organisations and broadcasters to represent them or acquire rights for them.” Delany added he was “a gentle giant capable of uniting parties at war.” He is survived by his wife, CAROLINE, and four children, "who were at his bedside at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/31).