One of America’s largest television networks, CBS Corp has confirmed it will acquire Network Ten in Australia.
This could have a significant impact on the future of Ten’s sports coverage.
“We look forward to working with the outstanding team at Network Ten to enhance and expand on its great legacy of Australian news, drama, reality and sports programming,”
CBS Corporation CEO Leslie Moonves said.
The key word there is expand on sports programming.
Ten already has rights to Wallabies matches and Big Bash cricket for another season.
It also has a separate deal with Fox Sports to broadcast one game a week of the A-League from next season and Socceroos matches once this current World Cup qualifying campaign is over.
Network Ten had a long-standing deal where it paid CBS to broadcast its entertainment content. The cost of that content made CBS one of the network’s biggest creditors and was one of the reasons Ten was placed into voluntary administration.
Now that Ten will effectively be free from that cost, it should, in theory have more cash to spend on programming while having more access to CBS content.
CBS already holds a 33 per cent stake in ElevenCo – the parent company of digital channel Eleven .
Since going into voluntary administration the network has looked for suitable bidders and it was expected that media moguls Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon would take joint-ownership.
However, proposed changes to media ownership laws were delayed and had not passed through the Senate which the Murdoch-Gordon bid was relying on.
The interesting part about the CBS news is how it will use its existing sports rights into the Australian market.
American sports broadcasting is complex with several networks owning the rights to select days and parts of the season for American football and other sports
CBS has the rights to Sunday afternoon NFL and some college baseball and basketball.
It also has the rights to two of golf’s majors – The US Masters and the PGA Championship.
In Australia, the Seven Network currently has free-to-air rights to the NFL but only has two more seasons remaining on its contract.
As well as standard television, CBS has also confirmed it will offer on demand streaming for Australians through CBS All Access, a digital subscription service.
“This acquisition not only presents CBS with considerable broadcasting opportunities in Australia, but also allows for further multi-platform distribution and growth,”
CBS Studios CEO Armando Nuñez said.
In America, viewers can stream the NFL through the app and it’s something the company will no doubt be investigating the rights to do something similar for its Ten audience.
The final sale transaction will be subject to regulatory approvals.
The Roar has reached out to CBS for comment.