Hmmm. The Seven Network revealed in its
expensive C7 case in the Federal Court yesterday that it has started
whittling down the action, is proposing to enter mediation with the AFL
and was talking to Ten about doing a deal with them. Ten, of course, is
Seven’s partner in the bid for the new free TV broadcast agreement from
2007 with, you guessed it, the AFL.

And on the same day, a
highly regarded Melbourne journalist is given the details of the joint
Seven-Ten bid for the AFL free TV broadcast rights. Seven denies
there’s any coincidence.

Seven’s barrister, John Sheahan SC
told Justice Ron Sackville that the Network was proposing to drop or
amend some parts of its case: the part involving Section 4D of the
Trade Practices Act (Exclusionary Provisions among commercial
free-to-air television operators) and the claim that the Respondent,
the Australian Rugby League (and not the National Rugby league) was
knowingly involved in the agreement or understanding that affects
competition. These claims would no longer be pressed.

Seven said it had had discussions with the Ten Network and felt that
mediation was not necessary. No doubt talks between old mates, David
Leckie and Bruce McWilliam at Seven and Nick Falloon at Ten (who is
also a PBL witness in the C7 case) and their legal beagles, could sort
the whole thing out very quickly.

But more importantly, Seven
says it’s prepared to mediate with AFL: that earned the ire of the
AFL’s barrister, Tom Bathurst QC who described Seven’s case as absurd.

And in the Age
this morning, the paper’s chief AFL writer, Caroline Wilson, is giving
chapter and verse of the basic Seven-Ten network bid for the new AFL
rights contract from 2007. She revealed that Foxtel has sort of joined
the Seven-Ten group and if successful, will take the Pay TV component
of the deal, with a better range of games.

Further, she reports
that Seven and Ten wanted a six-year agreement to allow for the even
swapping of the finals and the Brownlow Medal nights between the two.
Funny how it all emerged on one day.