Aussie Channel Seven Lost Olympics Broadcast Rights To Channel Nine

Anthony Stavrinos & Jeff Turnbull

Channel Seven will lose the Olympic broadcast rights to arch-rival Channel Nine after next year's Beijing Games.

Nine, in conjunction with pay television provider Foxtel, had secured rights to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday.

The coup - understood to be costing $US100 million - is a major blow for Seven, which has had a stranglehold on Olympic broadcasting since 1992.

It will be the first time the summer Olympics have been shown on Nine since Montreal in 1976, when it shared the rights with Seven and the ABC.

The IOC said Nine and Foxtel were chosen because they could reach the widest audience on a variety of broadcast platforms - terrestrial TV, subscription TV, mobile and internet.

Nine chief executive David Gyngell was buoyant. "London is a solid cultural fit with our viewing audience and it is likely to achieve strong ratings, particularly with the historical links in sporting and cultural terms between Australia and the United Kingdom," he said.

One insider at Nine said the rights win would be a fillip for staff morale, which has been rocked by its losing its No.1 rating ranking and since James Packer offloaded the majority of the station to private equity group CVC Asia Pacific.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said: "Our aim is to ensure that as many people as possible are able to enjoy the Olympic Games across the world and we look forward to working closely with the Nine Network and Foxtel to make this possible in Australia."

Australian IOC member and chair of its Press Commission, Kevan Gosper, last night rejected suggestions the IOC had overlooked Seven's solid Olympics broadcasting history.

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