Ten says Seven's our best shot at AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ten says Seven's our best shot at AFL

By Liza Kappelle 31/03/2005 05:27:55 AM Comments (0)

Ten Network's best shot at getting future Australian Football League broadcast rights was to spurn current partner Nine and strike a deal with rival Seven, it said.

Executive chairman Nick Falloon said it was solely a business decision for Ten to team up with Kerry Stokes' Seven Network to bid for the right to show free-to-air AFL from 2007 to 2011.

"Despite all the theories that I read about in the newspapers, it was purely a business decision," Mr Falloon told journalists at a briefing on the company's interim financial results.

When news of the new bidding partnership broke a fortnight ago, reports employed the terms "ambush" and "revenge" to characterise the move on Nine, owned by Kerry Packer's Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd.

The reports speculated the deal must have provided deep satisfaction to Mr Falloon and Seven's chief executive of broadcast television David Leckie, both of whom were former Packer lieutenants.

They both left PBL in the year after their involvement in the current AFL rights deal, which gave Ten exclusive access to the lucrative AFL finals and reportedly earned Mr Packer's displeasure.

Ten's chief executive of television John McAlpine said the relationship with Seven gave Ten the best shot at securing broadcast rights to the AFL finals and grand final.

"It was the best chance, in our view, of getting a renewal with the AFL."

Mr Falloon said the deal did not change the fact that rival Seven was suing Ten.

"This is about a new set of rights, the legal case will run its course," he said.

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