Nine never wins the Friday night timeslot against Channel 7’s AFL since loosing the AFL. Makes good business sense to try get back in on the AFL broadcast rights.
A bidding war for the AFL between Channel 7 and 9? Kaching
Channel Nine eyes AFL rights, heaps pressure on NRL
By Sam McClure and Michael Chammas
May 5, 2020
Nine Entertainment Co chief executive Hugh Marks has expressed a willingness to walk away from NRL if the sport does not significantly reduce its broadcast fee, stoking suggestions the network could make a play for AFL beyond 2022.
The NRL and its two broadcast partners, Foxtel and Channel Nine, are at loggerheads over the value of the sport, both in a reduced 2020 season and in future years.
An industry source said Nine, the publisher of this masthead, had a genuine interest in securing rights to AFL when both codes’ deals expire in 2022, if the network was unable to come to an agreement with NRL for an extended deal at a cheaper rate.
AFL footy on the box.CREDIT:GRAPHIC: PHIL CARRICK
The Age reported last month that the AFL was working behind the scenes on a two-year contract extension through to 2024 with its free-to-air broadcast partner, Channel 7, and pay TV operator Fox Sports at a marginally reduced rate, and this would have to be shelved for Nine to enter negotiations for AFL matches.
The AFL is also negotiating a new 2020 rights package dependent on its revised fixture.
Nine has strategically ramped up its AFL content in recent times, screening stable program Footy Classified two nights a week in Melbourne and significantly increasing its digital AFL content.
The current six-year, $2.56 billion deal, is worth about $418 million a season.
The expectation of reduced broadcast dollars, and no crowds for the remainder of the home-and-away season, plus the huge debt the AFL will be carrying as a result of COVID-19, will lead to a reduced salary cap and cuts across the board.
Marks, speaking with analysts and investors as part of the Macquarie Australia Conference 2020 on Tuesday, provided an insight into Nine’s hard-nosed approach and gave the strongest indication yet the network could relinquish its rights to rugby league.
‘‘It’s not a given that NRL has to be part of our future,’’ Marks said on the conference. ‘‘It has to just pay its way like all of our content does, and if it doesn’t, well ... again, we are less reliant on that as a revenue source.’’
Marks has reiterated his concerns to ARLC chairman Peter V’landys in recent negotiations, with The Age reporting that Nine want to pay $28 million less than the $118 million they were due to pay in 2020.
Sources close to negotiations have since told The Age that Nine is seeking a further reduction as part of the company’s reassessment of the value of live sport, but is willing to provide the NRL with the long-term security of an extended rights deal until the end of 2025, an additional three years on top of the current arrangement that expires at the end of 2022.
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/channe ... 54q4z.html