FOR 56 years the Nine Network has been a force to be reckoned with. Today, it sits on the brink of collapse, threatened with the possibility of a financial coup de grace that will put it in the hands of the banks.
At stake is a $1 billion contract for NRL rights, a $500 million deal with the US studio Warner Bros and the future of Nine's $300 million cricket rights deal, which expires next March.
More importantly to Nine, whose power was built in a dynastic age when the Packers ruled it like a fiefdom, is something bankers cannot put a price on: pride.
Nine's supremacy in ratings terms was built on the unflinching belief that it alone was born to be the best. As its ratings dissipated against Seven, Nine's sense of self-belief has proven indestructible, even if it has been delusional at times.
As the bankers circle, Nine's fate now becomes the fate of many: its sports stakeholders - though sources say the NRL is insulated against any outcome - its programming output deals with the US and its blue-chip programs, such as The Voice.
Read more at Brisbanetimes.com.au