Seven has confirmed that it had been looking at the broadcast rights for the Commonwealth Games but no deal had been signed.
Speaking to B&T, a spokesperson for the broadcaster confirmed that Seven “does not hold the right to the 2026 Games”.
As the broadcaster for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, it is understood that Seven would have had exclusive negotiation rights on the 2026 Commonwealth Games before the Games were offered to other national broadcasters.
Like the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games are on Australia’s anti-siphoning list – meaning that they must be broadcast for free given that it’s within the public interest. This means the options for broadcast would have likely been limited to Seven, Nine, Network 10, and ABC.
B&T can confirm that Nine and Network 10 had not yet been approached about the rights. Globally the BBC said it doesn’t comment on sports broadcast negotiations but also hadn’t confirmed that it had bought rights.
The only broadcaster to be named globally as holding rights for the 2026 Commonwealth Games was Sky TV in New Zealand. Sky TV signed up for the 2026 Games at the same time it signed up for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Sky TV declined to comment on yesterday’s news.
Despite the Commonwealth Games only being three years away, it doesn’t seem to be unusual that a broadcast partner has not been named. Seven was only announced as the official broadcaster of the 2022 Games in October 2021.
This is in sharp contrast to the Olympic Games for which the broadcast rights are decided on years in advance. For example, earlier this year Nine locked in a 10-year broadcast rights deal for the Olympics.
The Victorian government announced yesterday it would be canceling the Commonwealth Games because the costs are too high, especially in light of the current economic situation.
It is understood that the Victorian government only stepped in to host the Games after not one of the 70 countries in the Commonwealth put their hands up to host the Games.
Despite the lack of interest in hosting the games, the Games were a broadcast success in Australia.
Last year the success of the games consistently helped Seven, who had broadcast rights, secure more than 11.1 million national viewers over the time that the Games were aired.