Karl Stefanovic spearheads Nine’s mission to take Olympics broadcast rights

The Nine Network has made moves to take the next three Olympics Games off the Seven Network.

This broadcast deal will include the rights to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, and the 2032 Summer Olympics in Brisbane.

Mumbrella understands the network has sent top Nine executives and TODAY show host Karl Stefanovic to Switzerland this week to help “seal the deal”, according to a source.

A spokesperson from Nine told Mumbrella: “Karl Stefanovic has been sent on an assignment and will be returning on Friday.”

Karl Stefanovic

The International Olympic Committee is expected to begin a formal tender for the rights to the next three summer and winter Olympics later this year.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Amazon Prime Video’s Australian head Tyler Bern revealed the global streaming platform is also in talks to bid for the broadcast rights to the Olympic Games.

In March last year, the Australian Government delayed the expiration of the anti-siphoning list for two years, ensuring free-to-air networks will continue to have first access to some sports rights, including the NRL and AFL, Melbourne Cup, and Olympics.

This move by Amazon Prime could put an end to the anti-siphoning laws, after the government previously detailed that the events should be free to watch with the law in place until April 2023.

This comes as a sporting rights battle ramps up between the free-to-air broadcasters and new streaming competitors: Amazon Prime, Optus Sport, Sports Flick, Stan Sport and Foxtel’s sports streaming brand Kayo.

These streaming services did not exist when the anti-siphoning list was introduced in 1992, and most still weren’t established when it was updated in 2010. Accordingly, they’re not restricted by the list or the law in the same way as Foxtel.

The list ensures subscription services such as Foxtel can not nab exclusive rights to events of “national importance and cultural significance”, to the detriment of free-to-air TV networks and audiences.

In 2014, Seven paid $170 million for a three-Olympic game package to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which included the rights to the Winter Olympics in Beijing, China in 2022.

Under the deal, it also exercised an option to extend the agreement to include the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, however it is unclear whether Seven will extend the agreement.

With two of the Olympic Games in an unfortunate time zone for the Australian audience, some industry sources have said they expect that could be the reason Seven pull out of the race to bid for the package as The Olympics have typically been a revenue loss for the local networks.


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