The Ten Network appears to be on a sports spending spree with the struggling television network reportedly laying out $20 million on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
According to The Australian Financial Review, the network secured the games over the weekend after the IOC agreed to split them off from the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro in 2016.
The IOC will now reportedly attempt to sell the networks a sports rights deal consisting of the 2016 and 2020 summer games, along with the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Ten’s latest sports right purchase comes just days after the network reportedly laid out a $500 million bid over five years for the cricket rights.
New CEO Hamish McLennan has made no secret of his desire for the network, which has been languishing in the ratings, to pick up more sport as a platform for the network to then cross promote other content and raise the overall ratings.
Sports such as the Olympics and the cricket are often run as “loss leaders” with the networks losing money on them but using them to help boost the ratings on other programming.
The Sochi Winter Olympics begin in nine months’ time. The six hour time difference between Sochi and Australia’s east coast is reasonably favourable for Ten, with much of the action likely to be happening in prime time.
Update: Ten has this morning confirmed that they broadcast the 2014 Olympic Games.
Ten Network Holdings today announced it had signed an agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to broadcast the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.
The agreement covers the rights across all broadcast platforms, including free-to-air television, subscription television, internet and mobile phone.
Ten Network Holdings Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Hamish McLennan, said: “We are delighted that Ten will be Australia’s Olympics network in 2014.
“The agreement with the IOC delivers on our strategy to increase our investment in premium sport.
“Australia will field its largest-ever Winter Olympics team at Sochi and we are confident that some of those 56 athletes will be among the Games’ star performers,” Mr McLennan said.
“We are also confident that Australian viewers and advertisers will embrace our coverage of the Sochi Games.”