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“Always Room For More Sports” Says Seven As It Eyes NRL Deal

“There’s always room for more sport,” Seven boss James Warburton said, as it announces a deal to broadcast the Commonwealth Games and makes moves to strike a joint deal with Foxtel and the NRL.

Reports suggest that Seven approached Foxtel about an NRL partnership in which Foxtel produce the coverage of the NRL games, Seven secures the rights to the State of Origin (which is required to air live on free-to-air television) and Foxtel can add games to its Kayo Sports ‘Freebies’ tier. The two broadcasters would also be able to simulcast matches.

Meanwhile, Channel Nine has proposed to extend its deal with the NRL for a further five years.

Channel Seven held its upfronts yesterday, presenting a slew of local programming, including the return of Australian Idol. But sports were clearly on Warburton’s mind.

“It’s guaranteed in ratings, it’s guaranteed in terms of predicability about what it delivers,” he explains.

“We’re pretty open to [more sport], but we’re also very focused on our cost base and on making very sensible decisions about what works and what doesn’t, and what bits of sport we need.”

This reluctance comes after the network lost $50 million on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics deal, with shares falling 75. per cent in August as a result of ballooning costs.

“This is a new deal and a deal that will make money,” he said of the Commonwealth Games.

“All of this content and these announcements fit within our cost guidance which was provided in our results.”

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