HomeNewsAussie RulesAustralia

Internet giants unlikely to take Australia rights from TV, says Nine CEO

Social media companies Facebook and Twitter and technology giant Google are unlikely to challenge traditional broadcasters in bidding for major sports rights in Australia, according to the chief executive of commercial broadcaster Nine.

The AFL Aussie rules football competition is reportedly considering striking deals with the aforementioned companies, as well as e-commerce company Amazon, but Nine CEO Hugh Marks has dismissed the suggestion that new media will usurp free-to-air and pay-television broadcasters.

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review newspaper, Marks said: “Are Foxtel and Seven, in the case of the AFL, going to enable some social media company to carve off a bit of rights when we’re all trying to look at that ecosystem in terms of building audiences and marketing platforms? I don’t think so.

“Is Facebook going to come and take all rights out for the AFL? No. It’s just not going to happen, not in any near-term horizon.”

The AFL and the NRL rugby league competition have rights deals in place until 2022 so any deals with social media companies would not come into effect until the following year.

Most recent

Social media giant Facebook’s challenges around its Copa Libertadores coverage in Latin America have convinced it that non-exclusive rights models form “one of the best ways” of breaking into markets where entrenched viewing habits restrict the potential for exclusive rights to grow engagement with the platform.

The Football Association rejected a higher bid for domestic FA Cup rights for the 2021-25 cycle from incumbent pay-television broadcaster BT Sport in favour of commercial broadcaster ITV, SportBusiness Media understands, in a move that took the competition exclusively free to air in the UK.

Spanish football’s LaLiga extended its rights deal in China with Wuhan DDMC Culture in May without going to market, where it would have faced a tough task maintaining its income, SportBusiness Media understands. The Chinese rights market has cooled since the previous deal was agreed, and DDMC is thought to be paying the league a strong rights fee.

South African pay-television operator Multichoice is facing the biggest challenge in its 26-year history in the form of a two-pronged regulatory attack on its dominant position in the country’s sports-rights market.