Seven West Media has added the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games to its bulging portfolio of major sporting events.
The network announced last night it had secured all-encompassing rights to the April 2018 games, which are expected to dominate TV ratings, as the Melbourne Games did in 2006.
The 2006 opening ceremony, broadcast by Channel Nine, was the most-watched TV show of the year.
Seven’s announcement came two weeks after the network bought the rights to all Olympic Games events through to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.
As was the case with the Olympics deal, Seven has secured Commonwealth Games broadcast rights which cover free-to-air TV, subscription TV, radio and online platforms.
The network now has the rights to most of the major sporting events in Australia, including the AFL finals, the Australian Open of tennis, the Australian Open of golf, the Melbourne Cup, the Bathurst 1000 and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Chief executive Tim Worner said 2018 was set to be a massive year for the network across all platforms.
“We will start the year with the Australian Open for two weeks, follow that up with the Winter Olympics from South Korea and roll into these Commonwealth Games,” he said.
“These are all events for which we have secured all rights – not just the TV rights but the rights to deliver them on any platform which may or may not exist currently.”
He said everyone at the network was looking forward to a ratings bonanza similar to the one enjoyed by Channel Nine in 2006.
“Nothing delivers bigger audiences than a Games on home soil,” he said.
“We’ve seen that in Sydney in 2000 and in Melbourne in 2006. The Gold Coast in 2018 will be no different.
“We well remember what the Commonwealth Games was able to do against Seven’s schedule in 2006.
“We had big shows like Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey’s Anatomy and the Games steamrolled them.”
Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said the competition for broadcast rights showed the Games were in good health.
“The CGF is delighted to renew our relationship with Seven knowing it will ensure the widest possible coverage across the country,” he said.
“Seven’s commitment, coming off the success of Glasgow, illustrates the enduring appeal and bright future of the Commonwealth Games.”
Nigel Chamier, the chairman of the Gold Coast Games organising corporation, said he believed the deal with Seven was a boost for the event.
“Seven’s sports credentials are superb,” he said.
“We look forward to them bringing their expertise and passion to our event.”