Could the Seven Network be looking to offload its expensive commitment to the now delayed Tokyo Olympics?
That’s the somewhat surprising suggestion coming from The Sunday Telegraph, with a media report suggesting the cash-strapped network was preparing to make the; “almost-unthinkable move to dump the rights in an unprecedented fire sale.”
The report, which features curious phrases including “strong rumour” and “stunning scuttlebutt”, was written by Sunday Telegraph journalist Amy Harris. The same reporter who was behind a 2019 false news article on Silverchair musician, Daniel Johns.
The Sunday Telegraph report goes on to suggest the likely bidder for Olympic rights would be the 10 network. A move which would appear at odds with recent decisions by management
10 recently parted ways with its Director of Sport, Matt White. It also appears likely the network will not seek to renew its Supercar broadcast rights commitment as it seeks to focus on primetime content.
Since the completion of the CBS and Viacom merger, senior management decisions at 10 are now overseen from the UK by the same team that manages Channel 5. It’s a management team that has built their reputation on running a lean operation, and that includes not investing in sport, and certainly not something as big as the Olympics.
Sources within Seven have rubbished the Sunday Telegraph claims, telling TV Blackbox the report was “totally made up” and the suggested scenario “simply wouldn’t make sense.”
The suggestion comes after it was previously revealed Seven had held discussions with 10 about the potential for offloading Big Bash broadcast rights. Like all media organisations, Seven is currently under considerable pressure to cut costs, and its commitment to sports including Cricket, AFL and the Olympics are putting additional strain on the network.
What is clear is that the best scenario for Seven would be for the currently delayed games to be cancelled entirely. A result that would likely see Seven receive a very handy $70 million refund at a time when advertising revenue is at an all-time low.
Any move to offload the rights at a discounted price now could see the network miss out on this potential windfall.