Nine's Wide World of Sports

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Nine's Wide World of Sports
Nine's Wide World of Sports logo.svg
Current Wide World of Sports logo.
Division of: Nine Network
Headquarters: Willoughby, New South Wales
Major Broadcasting Contracts: NRL
State of Origin series
E. J. Whitten Legends Game
The Ashes
International cricket in Australia
Cricket World Cup
Ryobi Cup
Parent: Nine Entertainment Co.
Sister networks: GO!
Website: Wide World of Sports

Nine's Wide World of Sports (formerly called Nine Sports from 1970 to 1980) is a long running sports anthology brand on Australian television, aired on the Nine Network. All major sports, events and series covered by the network are broadcast under this brand, the flagship sports being rugby league (National Rugby League), cricket (Australian Summer of Cricket), spring and autumn horse racing, swimming and golf (British Open). Australian rules football was also aired until Nine lost the Australian Football League free-to-air broadcast rights in 2006.


Wide World of Sports (WWoS) is a long-used title for Nine's sport programming. All sports broadcasts on Nine air under the WWoS brand. It was also the name of a popular sports magazine program that aired most Saturdays and Sundays. This program filled many of the summer daytime hours. The program premiered at 1:00 pm on Saturday, 23 May 1981, and was initially hosted by Mike Gibson and Ian Chappell, before being hosted in the 1990s by Max Walker and Ken Sutcliffe. Ian Maurice was the regular anchor at the WWOS Update Desk. The show ended in 1999, due in large part to the rise of Fox Sports (which Nine's owner owned half of) and other subscription sport channels.[citation needed], but the show returned in 2008 on Sunday mornings.

From the late 1970s, the main sport aired nationally under the WWoS brand was cricket. Nine's majority owner Kerry Packer created World Series Cricket in part because he couldn't obtain the rights to Australian test matches at home, even though he offered the Australian Cricket Board a $1.5 million 3 year contract which was rejected by the ACB who signed a 3 year deal with the ABC to broadcast test matches. This led to Packer signing in secret some of the world's best cricket players for a breakaway competition. The ACB and Nine then signed a truce after a long dispute in 1979, with Nine securing the exclusive rights to telecast Australian cricket.

From that point until 2006, Nine based its summer schedule around broadcasts of cricket internationally and domestic. Its cricket broadcasts in that era revolutionised the way the sport was covered, featuring cameras placed at both ends of the field (after Packer famously complained about seeing "cricketer's bums" every second over), instant replays, and other innovations. World Series Cricket made many other changes to cricket, having a huge impact on the game.

In 1984, Billy Birmingham (The Twelfth Man) released a best-selling comedy album making fun of the cricket portion of the show. He went on to release a series of albums ridiculing all aspects of Wide World of Sports, calling the show "Wired World of Sports". From the first to the most recent (2006), all have reached number one on the Australian album chart.

January 1995 saw the beginning of Premier Sports Network, the channel that was to become Fox Sports. It secured the rights to Australia's cricket tour of the West Indies, Nine's first challenge since winning its World Series war. Nine tried to stop the broadcast under Australia's 'anti-siphoning' rules, which exist to stop certain popular sporting events being screened exclusively on pay television. But it failed when Premier Sports Network came to an agreement to broadcast the tour free to air on Network 10.[citation needed]

WWoS's other main sport was and is rugby league. This was challenged in 1997 by the establishment of Super League, the repercussions of which led to Nine's parent company owning half of Fox Sports that year, and ultimately Nine's move away from popular live sport.[citation needed]

This partial purchase of Fox Sports roughly coincided with the end of Nine's traditional Saturday and Sunday daytime schedule of sports programming. What had once filled it now filled subscription channels, mainly Fox Sports. Old movies and other low rating programs filled much of the space.

Between the late 1970s and 1997, when Australians had wanted to watch continuous sport at home on a summer weekend, they had largely done so by tuning to Nine. Those in NSW, Queensland and the ACT did this all year round, due to rugby league's popularity in those areas. Now Fox Sports had that mantle, and gave viewers continuous sport all week long.

Nine acquired broadcast rights for Friday night and Sunday games in the Australian Football League, the elite Australian rules football competition in 2001. They shared the rights with Network Ten and Foxtel from 2002 through to 2006, but the deal assigned the rights for finals matches to Network Ten, a deal which reportedly flabbergasted Nine boss Kerry Packer.

As it also had the rights for all major swimming competitions until 2008, with major swimming competitions shown in primetime. During the early to mid-2000s, Nine for the first time had the FTA rights to the highest competitions of Australia's four biggest spectator sports: rugby league, Australian rules (shared with Ten), cricket and swimming. While Nine no longer had the volume of sport it once had, during the 2000-2006 period it dominated non-Olympic sport broadcasting in Australia.

In January 2006, the Seven Network and Network Ten exercised their "first and last" rights agreement with the AFL to trump the Nine Network's $780 million bid for broadcasting rights for the years 2007 to 2011. If Seven and Ten were unable to match the AFL's "quality of coverage" demands by May 5, 2006 (better coverage into regional areas, northern states and on pay television, as promised in the Nine bid) the AFL would have been allowed to award the broadcasting rights back to Nine. The Seven/Ten consortium, however, obtained the rights, with Nine broadcasting its last AFL match on a Sunday hosted by Tony Jones with a guest appearance from Nine's then chief executive and former AFL commentator Eddie McGuire.

From the beginning of the 2006-2007 cricket season, Nine no longer broadcast Australian domestic cricket but replaced the coverage with ldelayed National Basketball League matches. The domestic cricket matches, long a mainstay of Nine's summer programming, moved exclusively to Fox Sports.

It was thought that the Seven Network would continue its tradition of airing the Olympic Games for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. However, Nine in joint partnership with Foxtel, has secured broadcasting rights which the network has described as the most comprehensive coverage of the Olympics. The partnership also won the rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

For more than 40 years, the Nine Network had also broadcast the prestigious Wimbledon tennis tournament before ultimately dropping it after the 2010 tournament, citing declining ratings.[1] The last Wimbledon match televised by Nine was the men's singles final played between Rafael Nadal and Tomáš Berdych, which Nadal won. The Seven Network have since picked up the broadcasting rights to Wimbledon, from 2011 onwards.[2]


After a ten-year hiatus, it was announced that the 'Wide World of Sports' program would return to Nine on 16 March 2008.[3] This show is hosted by the previous host Ken Sutcliffe, with footy show star James Brayshaw as well as former Australian cricketer Adam Gilchrist.

In 2009, revolving co-hosts included former swimmers Giaan Rooney, Nicole Livingstone and former cricketer Michael Slater. The show originally aired for 90 minutes but was recently extended to two hours. It airs on Sunday mornings at 9am till 11am.

Wide World of Sports returned for another year in 2009. Michael Slater and Grant Hackett joined the team as co-hosts alongside Ken Sutcliffe and Giaan Rooney. Nicole Livingstone did not return to the program in 2009, as she joined Network Ten as a commentator. Giaan Rooney resigned from the Nine Network at the end of 2012 to join the Seven Network.

The show was nominated for the Most Popular Sports Program award at the 2009 and 2010 Logie Awards, being beaten by The NRL Footy Show on both occasions.

The show is currently airing in 2012.


Nine's Wide World of Sports holds broadcast rights to the following events:


Sport Event Broadcast Partners(s) Dates Notes
Australian rules football South Australian Amateur Football League 2014– Live in South Australia only
Australian rules football E. J. Whitten Legends Game Replays: Fox Footy Channel (2002–2006), Fox Sports (2007–2011), Fox Footy (2012) 1996– Live coverage from VIC
Cricket Australia in England Fox Sports (2010-2013) 1977–1997, 2010– All Test Matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals, Live on GEM
Cricket Ryobi Cup 1980s–2005-06, 2013- Live on GEM[4]
Cricket International Cricket in Australia 1979– All Test Matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals
Cricket World Twenty20 Fox Sports 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014 All Australian Matches Only
Cricket World Cup Fox Sports 1996, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 All Australian Matches only
Cycling Tour Down Under 2012– 5 stages highlights package, last stage live. All Stages live on Digital multi-channel GEM
Horse Racing Queensland Race Carnival Sky Racing 2013-
Rugby League National Rugby League Fox Sports 1961–1970, 1992– 3 matches a week, one match live into NSW and QLD markets. Rest of Australia is shown live on GEM
Rugby League State of Origin series Fox Sports (Highlights) 1983–1989, 1991-
Rugby League ANZAC Test 1997– Australian matches only
Rugby League Rugby League Four Nations Fox Sports 2000s– (Four Nations) shown NSW and QLD on nine, rest of Australia shown on GEM
Rugby League Queensland Cup Fox Sports 2012- Queensland Cup match of the round live Sundays in Qld and replayed Australia Wide on Wednesdays on Fox Sports
Rugby union Rugby World Cup Fox Sports 2011, 2015 Australian Matches only
Surfing Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman Series 2014–


Sport Event Broadcast Partners(s) Dates Reason/Subsequent Broadcasters
Winter Olympics Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994, Vancouver 2010 Foxtel (2010) 1992, 1994, 2010 Outbid: Seven Network
Summer Olympics Melbourne 1956, Montreal 1976, London 2012 ABC (1956-1976), Seven Network (1956-1976), Foxtel (2012) 1956, 1976, 2012 Outbid: Seven Network & Foxtel
Association football 2002 FIFA World Cup SBS 2002 Dropped: SBS
Australian rules football Australian Football League Network Ten, Fox Footy Channel 2002–2006 Outbid: Seven Network (2007-), Fox Footy (2012-)
Australian rules football International Rules Series 2005 Dropped: 7mate
Basketball National Basketball League Fox Sports 2007 Dropped: Network Ten
Commonwealth Games Auckland 1990, Kuala Lumpur 1998, Melbourne 2006 Foxtel (2006) 1990, 1998, 2006 Outbid: Network Ten & Foxtel
Cricket World Series Cricket 1977–1979
Golf Australian Masters Fox Sports 2009–2011 Dropped: Seven Network
Golf British Open Fox Sports 1980s–2011 Dropped: Fox Sports
Golf U.S. Masters 1990s–2006 Dropped: 7mate
Golf U.S. PGA Championship 1980s-2000s Dropped: Fox Sports
Golf Presidents Cup Fox Sports 2011 Dropped: Fox Sports
Horse Racing Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Sky Racing 2007–2012 Dropped: Seven Network
Horse Racing Autumn Racing Carnival Sky Racing 2007–2012 Dropped: Seven Network
Motor Racing A1 Grand Prix Fox Sports (2005-2009) 2009
Motor Racing Formula One 1980–2002 Dropped: Network Ten
Motor Racing Moto GP 1987–1996 Dropped: Network Ten, Speed (2014-)
Motor Racing IndyCar World Series Fox Sports 1996-2000s Dropped Speed
Rugby League European Super League 2009–2011 Dropped Eurosport
Rugby League European Challenge Cup 2009–2011 Dropped Eurosport
Rugby League Rugby League World Cup Fox Sports 1992–2008 Dropped: Seven Network and Fox Sports
Rugby Union Super Rugby Fox Sports 2011–2012 Dropped: Network Ten (Highlights) & Fox Sports (Live)
Rugby Union Bledisloe Cup Fox Sports 2011–2012 Dropped: Network Ten & Fox Sports
Rugby Union The Rugby Championship Fox Sports 2011–2012 Dropped: Network Ten & Fox Sports
Rugby Union Wallabies Rugby Internationals Fox Sports 2011–2012 Dropped: Network Ten & Fox Sports
Rugby Union Wallabies Spring Tour Fox Sports 2011–2012 Dropped: Network Ten & Fox Sports
Swimming Australian Swimming Championships 1985-2008 Dropped: Network Ten
Swimming Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 1985–2006 Dropped: Network Ten
Tennis French Open Fox Sports 2003–2009 Dropped: Fox Sports
Tennis Wimbledon Fox Sports 1970–2010 Dropped: Seven Network
Tennis U.S. Open Fox Sports 1980s–2009 Dropped: Fox Sports
Tennis Masters Cup 2001
Yacht racing 18ft Skiff 1990s

1 The Nine Network televised the 2011 US Open final between Serena Williams and Samantha Stosur in its entirety.[5]


Nine's Wide World of Sports has presented the following recurring programs:

Sport (Event) Program Years
All Wide World of Sports 1981–1999, 2008-
Australian Rules Football The AFL Footy Show 1994-
Australian Rules Football The AFL Sunday Footy Show 1993-
Australian Rules Football Any Given Sunday 2005–2006
Cricket The Cricket Show 1995-
Cricket Ashes to Ashes 2006
Rugby League The NRL Footy Show 1994-
Rugby League The NRL Sunday Footy Show 1993-
Rugby League Boots N' All 2001–2005
Rugby League The Sunday Roast (NRL) 2005-


Nine's Wide World of Sports has hosts and commentators for a variety of sporting events. The following is a list of past and present personalities featured:

Wide World of Sports (1980s through 1997 and 2008 to present)[edit]

Any Given Sunday[edit]

Other major event hosts[edit]

2012 London Olympics[edit]

Various Nine programs including Today, Mornings, Millionaire Hot Seat, The Footy Show, 60 Minutes and Australia's Funniest Home Videos go on hiatus during Nine's broadcast of the 2012 London Olympics. A daily highlights package London Gold aired at 9am weekdays following the live overnight coverage.

National Rugby League[edit]






Guest international commentators[edit]

Domestic one-day cricket[edit]

Australian Football League[edit]

The Footy Show (Sunday edition) panellists[edit]


Horse racing[edit]




See also[edit]


External links[edit]