Australian TV coverage of Delhi Games

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CONSUMERS will be deluged with coverage of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi after the Ten Network and Foxtel joined forces to win the broadcast rights to the event from the Seven and Nine networks.

The Ten/Foxtel rights deal is believed to be worth more than $30million – lower than the reputed $48million Nine paid for the Melbourne 2006 Games but significantly higher than rival offers from Seven and Nine for the 2010 Games. Analysts said the lower price than in 2006 reflected the fact that east coast Australia was 5 1/2 hours ahead of Delhi, meaning finals of many major events would be screened outside prime time. Under the terms of the deal, Ten will have exclusive live rights to the October 2010 opening and closing ceremonies, but Ten and Foxtel will be able to broadcast unrestricted live coverage of all competition. Foxtel said it would offer a record 1100 hours of live coverage of 17 sports on multiple channels. The deal includes radio rights, which Ten and Foxtel will on–sell, and new media rights – for mobiles and the internet – to be held by Foxtel. The two networks, which put in a final bid last month, were informed of the decision on Tuesday. A source close to the bidding suggested Seven offered as little as $18 million in the seven–month, multiple–stage process. The deal means Ten will cover the Games for the first time since 1994. It underlines the growing importance of Foxtel's additional resources to boost bids. The pay–TV operator also successfully bid with Nine for the rights to the 2010 and 2012 winter and summer Olympics, in a deal worth much more than $100 million. Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams said partnerships were a sensible way of defraying the huge costs of major sporting events. " It's pretty clear you can extract more value out of events like this with a sensible partnership between a terrestrial network and Australia's leading subscription network, " Mr Williams said. Media strategist Steve Allen said: " Foxtel is now making money, and it has more money to throw around on these types of events. Ten and Foxtel need content, and there was enough room for both parties to get what they want. " Foxtel is 25 per cent–owned by News Limited, publisher of The Australian. Mr Williams said Foxtel had been keen to win the mobile and internet rights to add to its multiple channel TV coverage and enable it to fulfil its promise to offer viewers " what you want, when you want, where you want" .

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