Nine, Foxtel team to take Olympics from Seven


SYDNEY -- Australia's Nine Network and pay net Foxtel have partnered to wrest away Olympic broadcast rights from incumbent the Seven Network in a major multiplatform deal.

The Nine-Foxtel bid, announced Saturday, includes live rights for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games in London for free-to-air TV, high-definition channel programming and pay TV as well as Internet and mobile rights.

The International Olympic Committee granted Nine and Foxtel the rights "on their capacity to reach the broadest possible audience on a variety of broadcast platforms and their commitment to promoting the Olympic Games and the values of the Olympic Movement," it said.

Foxtel will partner with Nine, providing complementary and expanded coverage of events.

Foxtel CEO Kim Williams said that Foxtel will offer a variety of viewing options across technology platforms, including dedicated extra TV channels, high-definition coverage, Foxtel mobile and broadband coverage and recording of events on the Foxtel IQ.

The Seven Network has been the official Olympics broadcaster in Australia since 1992 and has produced key events for the host broadcaster at several games since the Sydney Olympics in 2000. It is expecting a ratings and revenue bonanza from its coverage of next year's Beijing Olympics, its last under its current deal with the IOC and the first in an Australia-friendly time zone since Sydney.

The deal is an indication that Nine's new board, led by majority shareholder CVC Asia Pacific, is providing the network with the resources to regain the upper hand in its ratings battle against rival Seven.