Seven and Swimming Australia broadcast deal terminated amid Olympic delays

Seven and Swimming Australia have terminated their broadcast partnership, with the sporting body’s inability to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Trials in 2020 due to COVID-19 named as the cause.

An announcement from both parties said that while they were ‘disappointed’ at the outcome, the decision was a mutual one. The lack of trials breaches the conditions of Seven’s rights agreement, allowing the broadcaster to exit the deal.

The original deal was scheduled to run from 2016 until 2025.

Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell said the sport was disappointed in the outcome, but understood Seven’s position.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Seven for the generous contribution they have made to the sport of swimming over the years,” said Russell.

“Through a strong working relationship with Seven, we have been able to bring swimming to Australian lounge rooms – not just in an Olympic and Paralympic year but every year in between and that has been vital telling the story of our incredible athletes and coaches.

“We see the broadcast of swimming in Australia as crucial to our sport and the fabric of the Australian sporting landscape and we will continue to explore options within the media and digital landscape for opportunities to share and showcase our amazing sport, which literally millions of Australians are involved in.

“With 2021 Olympics and Paralympics around the corner, we are firmly focused on the future
for our athletes, coaches and fans.”

Seven’s managing director of Seven Melbourne and network head of sport, Lewis Martin, said the network has enjoyed the time it’s had with Swimming Australia.

“We have enjoyed our partnership with Swimming Australia since 2016 and have been proud to broadcast their events to Australians.

“We thank Swimming Australia for the great relationship we have had with them and wish them nothing but the very best going forward.”

Seven has been reviewing some of its sports rights this year and is currently involved in a debate with Cricket Australia which may see it back out of its existing broadcast agreement. The network was hit hard when the 2020 Olympics were postponed, but stands to claw back $50m in prepaid rights fees if the event doesn’t go ahead next year.

Seven also signed a deal with Supercars last week to broadcast the sport which formerly aired on Ten.

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