James Warburton expects the current Supercars free-to-air broadcast to remain unchanged for the balance of the season despite news that Network 10 has been placed into voluntary administration.
Former Ten CEO and now Supercars boss Warburton is closely monitoring the situation and has stressed that a free-to-air broadcast remains a key aspect of Supercars’ commercial platform.
Ten airs the Adelaide, Townsville, Sandown, Bathurst, Gold Coast and season-ending (previously Sydney Olympic Park and now Newcastle) events live, with hour-long highlights packages after each day’s racing at other events.
Alongside Supercars, Ten is currently the free-to-air (FTA) broadcaster of Formula 1 and MotoGP in Australia, through a supply agreement with rights holder Fox Sports.
Warburton expects the developments at Ten will not affect this year’s Supercars broadcast.
“We have obviously got strong protections on all of our contracts and the free-to-air broadcast of Supercars is important, but at the moment in time it is business as usual for Darwin and Townsville, and most likely the remainder of the season,” Warburton told Speedcafe.com.
It is understood Supercars is almost certain to retain a free-to-air broadcast in the future even if Network 10 fails to find a buyer and collapses altogether.
Current rights holder Fox Sports, who signed a six-year contract with Supercars in 2015, is obligated to provide a free-to-air Supercars broadcast as part of the agreement.
If Ten ceases completely the FTA broadcast could be taken up by fellow free-to-air networks Nine or previous Supercars broadcaster Seven.
However, it has since been reported that Ten stakeholders Bruce Gordon (WIN Corporation owner) and News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch are working together on a rescue bid for the troubled network.