By Stuart Condie
(Australian Associated Press)
The Seven Network will show at least six Thursday night AFL matches under its $150 million per year deal for free-to-air broadcast rights.
Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner confirmed the network had given up 11 Saturday afternoon games to secure 11 mostly primetime offerings, a minimum of six which will be in the Thursday night slot currently given over to cookery shows.
The others will be blockbuster games on public holidays or public holiday eves.
Restaurant Revolution currently fills the Thursday primetime slot on Seven recently vacated by My Kitchen Rules, but has been a ratings disaster for the network.
It slumped to 22nd spot in OzTam’s ratings two weeks ago with just 427,000 viewers and has been replaced on Tuesdays by home footage of people’s pets.
Dogs Make You Laugh Out Loud pulled in 1.039 million viewers this week, beating initial Restaurant Revolution replacement Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud’s 917,000 seven days earlier.
Mr Worner said Seven would not trade games with pay-TV broadcaster Foxtel and there was no sub-licensing right in the record $2.508 billion six-year deal announced on Tuesday.
“It was hard enough to get them,” he said. “It’s not something that we would be willing to consider.”
The deal will run from the 2017 season for six years and is the largest sport broadcasting deal in Australia’s history.
The AFL Grand Final was the most watched program of 2014 with 2.828 million viewers across Australia’s five biggest capital cities.