Last week we reported that Lynton Taylor was returning to the Nine
Network to help CEO David Gyngell move from his Red P plates to Green.
Taylor, a Packer executive from the 70s and early 80s with considerable
background in World Series Cricket, is Nine ‘royalty’ and worked
closely with Kerry Packer and Sam Chisholm.

We know that staff at The Sydney Morning Herald
read Crikey because in today’s paper they’ve followed up our yarn on
Taylor from last week. Taylor worked at IMG in its TWI division and
returned to Nine after
management deals he was running at TWI fell through. TWI is an
international rights negotiator and packager of TV programs for sports
like soccer and rugby.SBS here puts much of TWI’s sports output to air,
especially soccer. Octagon is part of IMG and also deals in sports
rights. It handled the rights to the Ashes tour of England on behalf of
the England cricket authorities.

Taylor left Nine in the big maagement changes in 1993 when Davbid
Gyngell’s faqther, bruce Gyngell wasa brought back from london to head
the Network and mentor David Leckie at Kerry Packer’s behest. Bruce Gyngell is said to have sort and obtained Lynton Taylor’s
departure, so there’s an ironic twist in him returning to work for the
son, even at the age of 67. (He’s as old as Kerry Packer !)

Since Taylor arrived back at Nine there has been movement on the
cricket, although that would have been done regardless who was advising
Gyngell. he was told by Kerry Packer to do it. So Gyngell went to
Melbourne last week and did a verbal deal with Cricket Australia. The
news was broken in a small snippet in the Fairfax Sun Herald sports
column of journalist Jacqueline Magnay on Sunday. Nine has first and
last right of refusal on the cricket. The cricket deal was done for
domestic international games only.

An interesting point was that Packer told Gyngell to do the deal rather
than rely on sports bosses Garry Fenton or Steve Crawley. Fenton is up
to his neck with the Commonwealth Games while Crawley is overseeing the
NRL games and will be a key part of Nine’s attempts to keep the NRL,
and especially news Ltd, happy. Crawley is a former senior sports journo with news and knows Fox Sports
and Foxtel people. He’s the pea to become head of Nine sport after the
Commonwealth Games next year.

But Seven has Saul Shtein as its sports boss, along with
millionaire Commercial Director, Bruce McWilliam. They are working on
the AFL deal and keeping a hand in the moves over the NRL rights(over
which Nine has first and last rights).

News wants Nine to pay much more for the rights to the NRL, but packer
doesn’t have any leverage this time unlike a decade ago when he snapped
the rights for next to nothing (maybe $1.5 million a year) in the wake
of the ending of the Super League War. The NRL and News are much tougher now, as Nine and Kerry Packer are discovering.

Nine’s strong links through the powerful eastern Suburbs League
club
will not be enough to offset the demands of News Ltd on the NRL board.
League is something Lynton Taylor has little experience, but he is a
negotiator.

Peter Fray

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