No wonder Sam Chisholm’s upset
about next year’s Commonwealth Games. His boss Kerry Packer committed
the Nine Network to paying $56 million for the broadcast rights to the
Games in Melbourne next March back in 1998 – but now costs for Nine
have soared to an estimated $75-85 million, a figure which includes the
rights and broadcast costs and the loss of advertising revenue in the
first weeks of the 2006 ratings battle with Seven and Ten.

And
after a preliminary briefing on Games ad sales bookings, Chisholm is
distinctly unhappy. And this isn’t something he can blame on David
Gyngell and David Leckie: it was what seemed to be a matey Kerry deal
with Ron Walker, the Melbourne Games boss. And even the ever-confident
Sambo knows there’s one person you can’t blame at Nine or PBL.

Foxtel
and the half-owned Fox Sports will be roped in at the last minute, and
News Ltd is on board as an associated media entity in Melbourne. But
$20 million is a big loss for Sam to wear after all his cost-cutting,
paying millions more for rugby league next year, and the cost of the
cricket.

Seven and Ten are laughing and wondering whether,
after this experience, Sam and Kerry will have the guts to bid for the
2012 Olympics in London in September when the horse-trading starts with
the IOC.

Peter Fray

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