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Seventh Heaven for Supercars?

The Seven Network has become the only realistic free-to-air broadcast partner for Supercars.

Seven became the unbackable front-runner today when the boss of Foxtel, Patrick Delaney, confirmed a new eight-year deal with the Australian Rugby League Commission including the Nine Network.

With the cashed-strapped Ten Network already out of the running for the next Supercars television deal, the only potential partner still in play is Seven.

“No news,” was the only comment tonight from James Warburton, head of Seven, to Race News.

But it’s an open secret that Seven has pitched for the free-to-air component of a new deal.

Going with Seven makes all sorts of sense for Supercars, as the network already has a motorsport commitment through the Australian Racing Group – which will use Supercars TV to produce its 2020 package including the carsales TCR Australia Series – and Warburton is the former CEO of Supercars.

Ironically, it was Warburton who negotiated the current deal with Ten and Foxtel back in 2013.

From 2013, L to R: Ten Networks Hamish McLennan, V8 Supercars James Warburton, Foxtels Richard Freudenstein, FOX SPORTS Patrick Delany

A potential sticking point is the price on the package, as the economic circumstances around COVID-19 are not positive for any improvement on the $241 million negotiated by Warburton for a six-year deal.

But time is running short for Supercars, as the current broadcast deal ends this year – although it is almost certain to continue into early 2021 for the culmination of the re-scheduled Supercars season.

It has also just taken a hit with the departure of the Supercars friendly head of sport at Ten, Matt White.

There are no financial details yet of the NRL deal, except for Nine commenting that it’s paying a reduced fee, but it extends the arrangement with Foxtel for another five years to 2027 and the links to Nine to 2022.

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