In an “exclusive” interview with the Financial Review
today, Nine boss David Gyngell warns the AFL that Nine might not bid
for the rights from 2007, now that Seven and Ten have joined up. “The
AFL will have to come to us,” Gyngell is quoted as saying.
Gyngell followed the script written for or by Eddie McGuire on last Thursday night’s AFL Footy Show
in Melbourne and other states. But the thing that will make the AFL sit
up and listen is a commitment from Nine to broadcast AFL live in Sydney
and Queensland on a Friday night, or allow Foxtel to make live
broadcasts of the AFL. Presently Nine refuses to allow Foxtel to
broadcast either the AFL or NRL live on Friday nights or Sunday
afternoons (the NRL ban applies to the game Nine is broadcasting while
Foxtel can broadcast other games, but not the Nine match of the day).
The interview with AFR’s Neil Shoebridge made no mention of the sacking of John Westacott or John McAvoy as producers in charge of the failing A Current Affair,
and while there was an admission that Nine has not done well this year,
there was no discussion of what that really means. After all, Gyngell
has presided over the sharpest fall in market share Nine has
experienced for more than a decade. After losing Monday night badly in
its worst performance for years, Tuesday night Nine did better winning
the network battle by one point from Seven, 29.2% to 28.2%.