Australia’s Ten Network has acquired the broadcast rights to the Sochi 2014 winter Olympic Games.
The deal, as reported by the Australian Financial Review, is said to be worth around AUS$20 million (US$19.94 million) and, if confirmed, would represent an unusual move by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which typically sells the rights to a winter Games together with the following summer edition.
That break from the norm is likely to be down to the current situation in Australia wherein broadcasters’ Olympic rights budgets have been squeezed by the heightened fees demanded by other, more lucrative sports properties such as cricket and rugby.
Last week, for example, Ten made a reported bid of some AUS$500 million for the domestic rights to all forms of Australian cricket for the next five-year cycle from 2013/14. It is believed the winning broadcaster stands to make five times more, around AUS$50 million, from airing cricket than broadcasting Sochi next February.
While Ten has now bought the Sochi rights, Seven West Media reportedly offered AUS$80 million for the rights to the Rio 2016 summer Games. However, no network was able to satisfy the IOC’s asking price of AUS$120 million for both Sochi and Rio, the same figure Nine Entertainment and Foxtel paid for Vancouver 2010 Vancouver and London 2012.
The IOC will now attempt to bundle together the next three Games – Rio, PyeongChang 2018 and the 2020 summer Games – in a new package, the AFR reports.