“It will be absolutely huge”: Mike Sneesby on Nine’s Olympic Games deal

olympic games

“Aussies will get to see the Olympic Games from Nine in a way that they just haven’t seen before.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Nine Entertainment confirmed that the pair were partnering to bring Australia broadcasts of Olympic Games up to Brisbane 2032.

Nine has been awarded the exclusive free and subscription audio-visual rights, and non-exclusive audio rights to the Summer and Winter Olympic Games from 2024-2032. 

The deal will kick off in July 2024 with the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Nine will broadcast the next five Olympic Games in Australia, including Milan (2026), Los Angeles (2028), and the yet to be announced 2030 Winter Games, leading up to Brisbane in 2032. 

Mike Sneesby, CEO of Nine, addressed media on Wednesday afternoon, at a conference after the announcement.

The deal has cost Nine $305 million, with $10 million in contra. Was the price worth it?

“We always take a very disciplined approach to the acquisition of rights. One of the things that stands us in great stead is the breadth of our platforms across Nine which gives us a unique ability to monetize. We do have a competitive advantage when it comes to bidding on major sports rights like this. 

“We’re very comfortable with the amount we paid, you’ve seen us walk away from plenty of deals when they don’t make sense. Clearly, the fact that we got there with the IOC means that this is a deal that fits in the commercial envelope, and we’re delighted to be able to announce it.”

The Olympic Games are a major event. Will taking them on impact other areas of programming?

“We look at all of these investments on an incremental basis, but you’ve got to remember that we’re talking about deals that run for seven to 10 years. Audiences will evolve over time, I’m not going to sit here and say that we’re not going to look at our programming over the long term. 

“What is very clear is that as part of tentpole programming across any media business, sport has become increasingly important. It is a very strong driver of acquisition of audiences – whether you’re in the free domain or the subscription domain. It’s a genre that just continues to retain audiences over the long term. It will maintain itself as an important part of our overall programming over the long term, and of course, we’ll look at that as our world changes.”

With digital audiences on the rise, how do you see a distribution of consumption across platforms?

“Digital distribution is going to increase, and I’m not going to make a call on what the mix is going to look like. But look at the results of Married at First Sight this week – the live streaming numbers combined with the seven day numbers on 9Now, the numbers that are streaming that show are as big as other networks on their own. We’re seeing a change in consumer behaviour, and that doesn’t surprise any of us.

“This is a really important part of catering to that. By the time it gets to the Paris Games, there’ll be more people streaming than ever before. Nine is in a really unique position to be able to distribute content like this right across its platforms. If you look at the details of the announcement today, you’ll see it is a broad set of rights that we have, which will give us the ability to distribute not just on free-to-air television, not just on 9Now, but on Stan, our audio network, and our digital publishing platforms. 

“There’s plenty of work now that we’ve finalised the deal, around putting the details together for Paris and subsequent Games. We’re extremely confident in the opportunity to distribute that – Aussies will get to see the Olympic Games from Nine in a way that they just haven’t seen before.”

How much did Brisbane 2032 come into the negotiations?

“The idea of a partnership between Nine and the IOC wasn’t contingent on Brisbane – as a strategy, we felt like the fit with the IOC, in terms of the Olympic movement and their purpose, was a great fit for our business. 

“Of course, a home-ground Olympic Games in Brisbane in 2032 makes the deal even sweeter. Factor that into the commercial arrangements – home Games are always going to be a bigger opportunity for commercialization than an international Games that might be out of timezone. In any of these commercial discussions, that’s factored into it. 

“I’m absolutely certain that by the time we get to 2032 with the Brisbane Olympic Games, what we see as a media event – and I specifically say a media event, rather than just a broadcast event – will be like nothing we’ve ever seen before in Australia. It will be absolutely huge.”

To Top