Seven West Media has retained the rights to broadcast the V8 Supercars motorsport free-to-air for another two years, after 12 months of negotiations which included talks with Nine and Ten.
Seven, whose prior six-year agreement with the V8’s expired in December, re-signed the sport for a further two seasons at a reported discount to the $28m per year it paid previously.
The deal guarantees live free-to-air coverage of each championship race into all of Australia’s metropolitan markets.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the preceding deal saw the V8s receive a total of about $32m a year in media rights, with additional revenue coming from Fox Sports Australia, which held the rights to replays, Telstra, which owned online and mobile rights, and international TV broadcasters.
The new deal, which V8s CEO David Malone had hoped would wrap up by mid 2012, comes critically close to the sport’s first race of the year, scheduled for early March.
The V8 Supercar season commences with a pre-season Test day at Sydney Motorsport Park, followed in March by the Adelaide Clipsal 500 – an event which is tipped to attract more than 290,000 spectators.
Tim Worner, CEO television, Seven Network, said: "Seven is looking forward to continuing to work with V8 Supercars to build on the sport's success across our media platforms.
“We have a deep connection with the sport – in particular the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 which Seven first broadcast in 1963. We're ready for the launch of our new agreement and with V8 Supercars we're looking forward to this year's Championship."
Seven had first and last rights to the sport but negotiations reportedly included formal talks with the Nine Network which threw in a conservative bid after paying around $500m for the 2013-2017 rugby league broadcast rights last year.
The V8s also tried to stimulate competition by involving Network Ten but it is understood the network did not formally bid.
The sport, famous for the rivalry between long-term marques Ford and Holden, this year welcomes Nissan and AMG to the grid.
Nissan Motorsport will field four Nissan Altimas while Erebus Motorsport will race three Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG V8 Supercars alongside the two traditional car brands.
In May V8 Supercars makes its US debut at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
The V8 Supercars is majority owned by private equity firm Archer Capital and the remainder by the V8 teams.
For more about the V8 Supercars, read B&T’s exclusive profile of the sport’s head of marketing, Penny Glasson.