With questions raised on how Seven would manage to squeeze V8s into its beefed up AFL coverage next year, the network's executives have assured Speedcafe.com that V8 Supercars will fulfil the final year of its broadcast deal – and will be heavily involved in the negotiations of the next contract.
The AFL announced in April a landmark $1.25 billion deal to broadcast four live games of AFL each week on Seven over five years (2012-2016).
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Seven had been negotiating with other networks to buy one or two of those games, but has now confirmed that it will go it alone in terms of free-to-air AFL coverage, screening all four games. Foxtel will screen the remaining five, as well as ‘simulcasting' Seven's four free-to-air games, meaning that it will broadcast all minor round games live each week.
Simon Francis, Seven's director of corporate development, says that Seven is more than capable of broadcasting both V8 Supercars and AFL next year when the network doubles its weekly AFL broadcasting from two games per week to four.
“We're well advanced on our scheduling of AFL and V8s across 2012 and we'll comply with the requirements of our broadcast agreements with both AFL and V8 Supercars,” Francis told Speedcafe.com.
Seven and V8s have been experimenting with broadcasting its races on Seven's primary channel and 7mate. Sunday's broadcast of the V8s in Darwin was the first time that the V8s were broadcast live on 7mate in all five metropolitan markets.
It could be expected that Seven's primary channel would broadcast V8 events outside of the AFL season. This means that the season-opening events in the Middle East, the Clipsal 500, and every event post-Bathurst in October could be on the primary station. All other events could be shown on 7mate or be screened around AFL fixtures on the primary channel.
With negotiations about to commence for the next V8 broadcast deal, Francis confirmed that the Seven Network will be involved in the bidding.
“We'll be involved in the negotiations for the next V8 Supercars television agreement,” he said.
“We enjoy our partnership with V8 Supercars.”
James Erskine of SEL, which recently sold its stake in V8 Supercars to Archer Capital, has been retained as a consultant to V8 Supercars to negotiate the next TV broadcast deal.
V8 Supercars General Manager of Communications Sam Heard said that V8 Supercars is constantly watching the way the category is being broadcast.
“It's an ongoing situation which we're monitoring and working through with the Seven Network,” said Heard.