Seven’s recent acquisition of sports broadcasting rights has continued with news today that Seven has acquired exclusive broadcast rights from IMG Media for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. The 14-nation tournament will be hosted by England and Wales, with matches also to be played in France and Ireland.
All matches will be broadcast live by Seven on its digital-only channel 7mate, joining other sports on the male-skewed channel including AFL and V8 Supercars. Also, similar to Seven’s recent deal with Tennis Australia, the deal with IMG Media includes broadcast and subscription television rights, IPTV, interconnected TV, catch-up TV, HbbTV, pay per view, video on demand and digital rights, including online and mobile.
Commenting on the deal, Seven West Media CEO, Tim Worner said:
“It is an extraordinary event and fits perfectly with our portfolio of major sports event that we can drive across our broadcast television platform and our emerging and developing online and mobile content platforms. A key to this agreement is our ability to deliver this amazing event across multiple platforms in formats that meet the demands of our audiences. This approach is a cornerstone for our future development as a broad-based audience company.
“Live events define our business and we are delighted that rugby league will be on Seven’s broadcast platform. We are investing in and building our three channels and 7mate is key to our development, in particular its increasing presence in live sports television and extending its leadership in key male demographics.”
Nine and Fox Sports covered the last World Cup in Australia in 2008, when New Zealand lifted the trophy.
Given the timezone differences between Australia and Europe, it will be interesting to see what sort of viewer numbers 7mate can achieve (especially when Australia is playing).
This acquisition adds to Seven’s growing sports portfolio which now includes AFL, V8 Supercars, golf, tennis and soccer and horse racing.