TEN: Yes we’re keen on AFL
Despite letting the AFL and Before the Game go, TEN now says it is keen to bid for the next round of broadcasting rights.
The current $1.25 billion deal with Seven and Foxtel ends in 2016, but AFL general manager of broadcasting Simon Lethlean has said the league’s preference would be to secure a deal by late next year.
TEN CEO Hamish McLennan tells Fairfax, “Yes, we’re keen. All depends on what is on offer.”
Asked what slots TEN would be interested in, McLennan said: “Depends on price etc, but maybe Saturday again and what is on offer.”
Of course TEN pulled out of the last rights under acting CEO Lachlan Murdoch. Its AFL commentators then walked to rival broadcasters.
Last year TEN also let go of Before the Game, under the current CEO. So the messages to AFL fans and community about its dedication to the code seem to be reinvented with each passing year, while Seven has stayed the course.
But then the network’s position on News and morning television also seem to fluctuate depending on network management too. We’re also now hearing TEN is less inclined on more Olympics too. It’s these kinds of changes that leave the audience wondering what, exactly, a network stands for (at least local Drama has held firm through recent years and as a result Offspring flourishes). These things impact on brand.
Current network shares tells TEN they should never have let football go, but it is in the AFL‘s interests to have TEN drive up the bidding price. Talk of an early broadcasting deal would come despite some suggestions at the last round that the AFL could set up its own digital broadcasting model and deal directly with fans.
TEN is actually right to be eyeing the AFL for its broadcasting schedule but based on recent events, it is yet to assure us it won’t undergo another managerial upheaval and staff cuts Before The (next) Game.