A launch event in Melbourne last night again signalled the growing importance of the partnership between News Corp Australia, Foxtel and Fox Sports.
On a balmy hot autumn night on the roof of a South Melbourne pub, executives from Australia’s biggest media companies and sporting bodies walked the red carpet, stopped at the media wall and then listened to how the sport of AFL is central to the business models of the news media company and the sports broadcaster.
Peter Blunden, News Corp Australia’s MD editorial for Victoria, told guests about the investment in the Footy Tour, which has just wrapped after touring regional centres around the state.
Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany spoke about the success of the Fox Footy channel and how they are back with an improved offering in 2017 including the addition of key talent in their live match coverage and their entertainment programs across the week.
Speaking to Mediaweek separately prior to the launch function, both executives spoke about the $10 Foxtel Play/Herald Sun subscription package which will help drive subscriptions for both businesses.
For $10 a week, subscribers can watch Footy Play (Foxtel Play’s Fox Footy channel) live streamed to a compatible smart TV, tablet, mobile, desktop computer, or gaming console.
The TV package features over 10 sports channels including FoxSports 1, 3, 4 and 5, ESPN 1 and 2, BEIN Sports 1, 2 and 3 and Eurosport. Also included is an all-access subscription to www.heraldsun.com.au and SuperCoach Gold.
An impressive guest list attended the launch including News Corp’s new Victorian MD commercial Peter Zavecz, Foxtel’s Peter Tonagh and Brian Walsh, Fox Footy GM Michael Neill, former Foxtel exec and now AFL Media GM Peter Campbell and Herald Sun head of sport Matt Kitchin.
Radio executives at the launch included SEN 1116 general manager Cathy Thomas and operations director Helen Davies plus Nova Entertainment national publicity director Jane Elliott.
Covering the event and the red carpet were News Corp Melbourne’s finest including Luke Dennehy, Fiona Byrne, Jackie Epstein and Nui Te Koha.
One former Foxtel executive working with the Fox Sports comms team of Lee Robson, Asha Burns and Chelsea Collins last night was Brendon Moo who has joined the broadcaster as acting director of marketing and communications with Carly Loder on maternity leave.
Former Footy Show host, and now Fox Footy commentator, Eddie McGuire was chatting with The Footy Show’s newest arrival Craig Hutchison who flew back to Melbourne after hosting the Sydney Crocmedia launch the day prior.
Both Fox Footy and the Herald Sun had many of their journalists and commentators on hand as they enjoy their last few days’ respite before the season commences next week.
At the end of the speeches, Fox Sports’ Neroli Meadows hosted a panel with the Herald Sun and Fox Footy’s Robbo, Fox Footy and Nova’s Jonathan Brown and Fox Footy’s Brad Johnson. Browny didn’t make his Nova radio show yesterday after over-indulging at a radio ratings celebration on Tuesday night, but after an amazing recovery, he managed a round of golf and then fronted for the evening function.
Photo: News Corp’s Peter Blunden, Fox Footy & Nova’s Browny, Fox Sports Patrick Delany