Crawley: Fox Sports’ new head of live sport
Days after Fox Sports signalled it wouldn’t carry Nine’s calls of its simulcast NRL games, the pay TV operator has poached its free-to-air rival’s head of sport.
Steve Crawley, who has been with the Nine Network for 13 years, will move into the new Fox Sports role of head of live sport. He will be replaced by Tom Malone.
Fox Sports said in a statement that its production would be divided into two areas covering live sport and sport entertainment shows. Head of TV channels Gary Burns will move into the new role of head of sports entertainment shows.
Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany said in the statement: “This puts in place a very strong team to take us into 2016 and beyond, with two of the best sports producers in the country working side by side. Having recently secured the biggest NRL rights in history and a new channel planned for 2017, we look forward to having Steve and his expertise on the team.”
The moves come after Nine retained the rights to air NRL games in a five year deal which took the market by surprise when it was announced in August. The completion of the deal without tying up the subscription TV rights caused outrage within the Fox Sports camp. However, in late November, Fox Sports signed its own deal giving it the ability to carry every game live via a new dedicated league channel plus a new exclusive Friday night game.
Fox Sports is owned by News Corp, which also owns half of pay TV provider Foxtel.
In a surprise move, Fox Sports’ sister newspaper The Daily Telegraph revealed last week that rather than carrying the Nine call of the simulcast games it would have its own broadcast team for all eight weekly matches, in a move which will see brothers Andrew Johns and Matthew Johns go head to head on Fox Sports and Nine.
Nine CEO Hugh Marks paid tribute to the departing Crawley saying: “Steve Crawley has made an enormous contribution to our business over the past fourteen years. He is one of those rare individuals who knows, practices and lives his craft to the benefit of the team of people who work with him. We’re immensely sad to see him go but wish him well for the future. He will always be a friend of Nine.”
Crawley will stay with Nine until March and begin the new role in May. He said: “I leave with a heavy heart, but at the same time exhilarated by the new challenge ahead of me.”
Meanwhile, 60 Minutes boss Tom Malone has been promoted to Nine’s director of sport to fill the gap left by Crawley. Malone is seen as one of Nine’s most talented producers having previously spent several years at the helm of the Today Show before his successful 60 Minutes stint.
Kirsty Thomson will replace Malone at 60 Minutes.