Senior Writer Mike Osborne reports on the Nine Network’s continuing efforts to build on its Olympic Games investment.
The Nine Network is replacing Seven as the Australian home of the Olympics through to the 2032 Brisbane Games with a series of deals including a record $305 million gamble on broadcast rights.
Nine’s decade-long investment in future Olympics starts with Paris 2024 and includes Los Angeles 2028 and Brisbane 2032. The other events included in the deal are the 2026 and 2030 Winter Olympics.
Weighting the summer and winter Olympics equally (which they aren’t in Australian broadcast terms) Nine’s investment works out at a record $61 million per games – compared to the $60 million per games Nine paid for London 2012 and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
In addition, Nine has secured the exclusive rights for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games plus a three-year deal as an official partner of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).
In return for the AOC sponsorship, the network will get exclusive access to athletes through the Paris 2024 Games, the 2026 Milan Cortina winter games and the Youth Olympics in both 2024 and 2026.
Other events covered in the deal include the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands, and the World Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia.
The broadcaster will also gain cross-platform marketing rights and special access to content and athletes that it will use to populate its television, audio, and streaming channels.
Nine’s exclusive content access will also bleed through to its print products – the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and The Financial Review and their websites.
“With Brisbane 2032 less than a decade away, our commitment to the Olympic movement is to shine a light on those dreams, share athletes’ stories and help grow the Olympic spirit,” Nine’s CEO Mike Sneesby said.
Seven, which had dominated Olympic broadcasting in Australia for more than two decades, withdrew from talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) because it believed any figure above $250 million for the next round of games was over-valued.
Despite making a loss of some $20 million when Nine last broadcast the Olympics in London 2012, the network has shelled out $55 million more than its predecessor was prepared to pay.
Sneesby hopes to monetise the Olympic rights through Nine’s diverse streaming, television, audio and digital platforms – across 9Now, Stan, the 9 Network, and talk radio stations 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR.
Nine says this will allow Australian audiences to tune in anywhere, anytime, and on any device and platform to get the latest Olympics news and coverage.
When Nine signed up for the next decade of Olympics rights, IOC president Thomas Bach said the “new partnership with Nine will ensure Olympic fans across Australia have unparalleled coverage of the Olympic Games on their platform of choice”.
Sneesby said the deal enabled Nine to “make the Olympic Games accessible to all Australia, across more platforms than ever before”.
Apart from London 2012, Nine’s previous Olympic broadcasts have all been winter games including Sarajevo 1984, Calgary 1988, Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994 and Vancouver 2010.
Previously Seven had dominated the summer Olympics including Moscow 1980, Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 (2021).
TEN Network had the 1984 Los Angeles and Seoul 1988 Olympics while the ABC dominated coverage from Melbourne 1956 through to Montreal 1976.
Michael Osborne has been a journalist for more than four decades including 35 years with the national news agency Australian Associated Press, rising from junior reporter to Editor.
He was AAP Editor for 11 years and served four years as Head of Sport and Racing. He was also posted to London and Beijing as AAP’s Bureau Chief and Foreign Correspondent.