Supercars agrees new domestic media-rights deals

Australian motor-racing series Supercars has announced new five-year domestic media-rights deals with pay-television broadcaster Foxtel and free-to-air broadcaster the Seven Network, for the 2021 to 2025 seasons.

The new deals have been reported in Australian media to be worth a little less than the existing deals.

The new agreements are said to be worth around A$200m ($141.3m/€121.2m) in cash and advertising over the five years, equivalent to around A$40m per year.

The existing six-year deals with Foxtel and free-to-air broadcaster Ten, from 2015 to 2020, were worth A$241m, comprised of A$196m in cash and A$45m in promotional ‘contra’, A$40.2m per season.

In the new deals, Foxtel will continue to show every practice, qualifying and race session live and ad-free, on its pay-television channels and Kayo OTT service. Seven will broadcast six live Supercars events per year, including the biggest annual race the Bathurst 1000. Its deal includes rights for the annual Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race.

Foxtel was always expected to renew its rights – it is a long-term partner of Supercars and the championship is a pillar of its motorsports coverage.

Seven’s move for the rights was more of a surprise, although the network has strong links with the series, having broadcast it between 2007 and 2014. Seven’s chief executive James Warburton is the former chief executive of Supercars, who led the series when the current media-rights deals were agreed.

The door was opened for Seven after cash-strapped rival, and incumbent Supercars free-to-air rights-holder, Ten stepped back from renewal talks earlier this year.

Announcing the deals, Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said: “I am delighted to continue working with Patrick Delany and his team at Fox Sports and Foxtel…We’re also thrilled to welcome back the Seven Network which helped bring motorsport to Australian living rooms way back in the early 1960s.”

Foxtel Group CEO Delany said his company’s motorsport audiences are up by 35 per cent this year compared to 2019, with streaming growth for the category on its streaming services Foxtel Now, Foxtel GO and Kayo up 82 per cent. He said, “While the 2020 season has faced disruptions from Covid-19, the team at Supercars have done an outstanding job of keeping their loyal and passionate fan base entertained and most of all producing world-class competition. We are looking forward to bringing Supercars to our growing legion of motorsport fans like no one else can over the next five years.”

James Warburton, Seven West Media managing director and chief executive, said: “I want to thank Sean, the Supercars Board and the Supercars team for this outcome, which is a great result for Seven, Supercars, and most importantly, the fans. It will help fuel the growth of the sport into the future.”

In June, Supercars renewed a deal with pay-television broadcaster Sky New Zealand for the five years from 2021 to 2025.

Earlier this month, the series announced a new five-year title sponsor agreement with Australian automotive engineering and retail company Repco. Repco replaced airline Virgin Australia, which entered voluntary administration in April.

The 2020 Supercars season was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic after its first round in February. It returned at the end of June, although the comeback has been complicated by renewed outbreaks of Covid-19.