Lions tour for next rugby TV deal scrum

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 29 : 17-Feb-20

Rugby Australia hopes to sign off on a new broadcasting rights deal by the end of April, with Foxtel, Optus and Network Ten understood to have signed non-disclosure agreements for the negotiating process. It is believed that Rugby Australia has secured the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour to help make its five-year rights deal more appealing to broadcasters; it had previously been reported that the deal would not include the tour. Rugby Australia’s new rights deal will include over 400 matches, including New South Wales and Queensland club rights.

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Optus in rugby maul as it chases new subscribers

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 24 : 14-Feb-20

Tender documents for Rugby Australia’s new five-year broadcasting rights deal will be sent to prospective bidders within days. Optus CEO Allen Lew says the telco would be interested in buying the rights, which would boost the offering of its sports streaming service. Optus Sports boasts some 825,000 active subscribers, making it the nation’s largest sports-focused streaming service. Foxtel has been Rugby Australia’s broadcast partner for 25 years, and some media reports have suggested that it will not seek to renew the rights.

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Seven warning as rugby rights deal in balance

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 23 : 10-Feb-20

Super Rugby matches are exclusively shown on Foxtel under Rugby Australia’s current broadcasting deal. With Foxtel having chosen not to renew its deal, RA is believed to be want at least one Super Rugby match to be shown on free-to-air TV under its next rights deal. However, factors such as low ratings for rugby matches and a crowded sports schedule may deter interest from commercial networks. Meanwhile, Seven West Media CEO James Warburton says sporting bodies need to deliver "incremental revenue and growth opportunities" for their broadcast partners.

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Rugby blows its Fox Sports deal

Original article by Jamie Pandaram
The Australian – Page: 32 : 6-Feb-20

Negotiations between Rugby Australia and Fox Sports for a new broadcasting rights deal have broken deal, with the pay-TV provider choosing not to renew the deal. The current five-year deal is worth $57m a year and is set to expire at the end of 2020. Rugby Australia is expected to seek a broadcasting rights deal with Optus; the Ten Network, which is Fox Sports’ broadcast partner, may continue to show some matches on free-to-air TV. Fox Sports has held the rugby broadcasting rights since 1996.

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Warning on coverage as Rugby Australia toys with Optus deal

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich, Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 15 : 23-Dec-19

Rugby Australia commenced talks with Optus regarding a broadcasting rights deal in November, after rejecting a ‘rollover’ agreement with incumbent broadcaster Foxtel. However, WPP AUNZ director John Steedman warns that a deal with Optus would be ‘disastrous’ for rugby due to the telco’s smaller audience. He also notes that advertisers would prefer a deal with a free-to-air or pay-TV network. Atomic 212 chairman Barry O’Brien agrees that rugby should be on free-to-air or pay-TV.

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Tennis Australia risked disaster if Ten won Open

Original article by Liz Main
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 7 : 8-Nov-19

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has launched legal action against former Tennis Australia board members Harold Mitchell and Stephen Healy. It alleges Mitchell went over the heads of other board members to ensure Seven secured a five-year deal in 2013 to cover the Australian Open, despite Network Ten putting in a competing offer, and it alleges Healy was complicit in the deal. Mitchell’s lawyer Neil Young QC suggested to former Tennis Australia executive Stephen Ayles during hearings on 7 November that if there was a risk that Ten could go into administration during the five years of a possible deal that it would be disastrous for Tennis Australia, to which Ayles agreed.

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Melbourne Cup in turmoil as ratings and attendance plunge in 2019

Original article by Roy Morgan
Media Update – Page: Online : 7-Nov-19

TV viewership of the Melbourne Cup has plunged in 2019, dropping by more than half-a-million viewers compared to 2018 (a drop of 28% in only one year) and down over 330,000 in Melbourne – the home of the race. In total 1.324 million Australians in the 5 Capital Cities tuned in to Network 10’s coverage of Australia’s most important horse race. Sydney viewing was down by over 100,000 and down by tens of thousands in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. As reported yesterday attendance at the Melbourne Cup was only 81,408, the lowest attendance for nearly a quarter of a century since 1995. In line with plunging attendance figures, TV viewership was down across the whole day including the Race, Presentation, Mounting Yard and other viewing segments. Attendance at the Melbourne Cup has now dropped for five years in a row and is a clear indicator of problems facing Australia’s Racing Industry which Roy Morgan shows has among the highest level of distrust of all sports.

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Tennis boss helped Seven win TV rights

Original article by John Stensholt
The Australian – Page: 3 : 5-Nov-19

The Federal Court has commenced hearing a civil lawsuit against former Tennis Australia executives Harold Mitchell and Steve Healy. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has made a number of allegations about the pair regarding the negotiations for a tennis broadcasting rights deal in 2012. Amongst other things, Mitchell is alleged to have provided the Seven Network with details of rival bids. The advertising industry veteran has denied the allegations.

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Seven keen to tackle NRL rights

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 23 : 28-Oct-19

Seven West Media has expressed interest in bidding for the National Rugby League’s broadcasting rights when the Nine Network’s current deal expires in 2022. CEO James Warburton adds that Seven may look at gaining the State of Origin broadcasting rights if it cannot secure the full NRL rights. The proposed move on NRL rights is believed to be aimed at boosting Seven’s audience share in Sydney and Brisbane, where its average audience for Australian Football League matches is much lower than Nine’s NRL coverage.

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Racing industry punting on renewed interest with The Everest

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 18-Oct-19

New research from Roy Morgan shows that just over 5.2 million Australians aged 14+ (25%) now watch horse racing on TV, a drop of nearly 700,000 since 2015. Almost 5.1 million Australians watch the Melbourne Cup race broadcast, and 98% of Australians who watch any type of horse racing on TV watch the Melbourne Cup. The addition of Australia’s richest turf race, The Everest, to the racing calendar in 2017 has attracted a significant audience (over 750,000), but has yet to reverse the overall decline in TV viewership. Analysis shows that a third of Australians who still watch horse racing on TV are aged 65+, and less than a fifth are under 35. The gender split is fairly even, although men slightly outnumber women. These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year in their homes.

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