CEO, Premier Media Group
Born in: Delany grew up in Beauty Point, on Sydney's north shore
Home Town: Sydney
You may not know him, but Patrick Delany plays a major role in determining which sports you watch on free-to-air, and which are restricted to those willing to pay for the privilege.
That's because Delany's the head of Premier Media Group, the owners of the lucrative Fox Sports network, and he's working to take as many sports right contracts as his organisation can afford, and is allowed to purchase, over to pay TV.
And as one of Australia's longest-serving pay TV executives, Premier's got the right man for the job.
Delany's been in and around subscription television since not long after the first coaxial cables were being rolled out, some 15 years ago. And the former swimmer-turned-lawyer-turned-media heavy has got energy to burn.
"Fox Sports won't be a place for the lethargic under Patrick," sports rights negotiator Ian Frykberg told The Australian recently.
Foxtel CEO Kim Williams agrees: "One is impressed by his sense of energy, his sense of generosity, his sense of warmth, the fact he is such an easy communicator. He is a very, very likeable person. But there is real substance to go with that."
Delany, who still looks like a media lawyer with his short grey hair and black-framed glasses, initially got into subscription telly in 1994 at the now-defunct East Coast TV.
He then went on to work at production company Southern Star before moving back into pay at Foxtel with XYZ Networks. Not long later he was being earmarked for bigger things, particularly during his role running Foxtel Digital where he won many admirers.
These days at Premier and Fox Sports, Delany's got a few decent-sized moguls in his corner.
Controlling one half of PMG is News Corporation (and all its riches), controlling the other is Consolidated Media Holdings (in other words: James Packer and Kerry Stokes). All three of those entities know the value of decent live sport. And they're willing to help out a friend.
It's that kind of support which helped drive PMG to make its biggest power play yet: the $500 million-plus Foxtel coughed up this April to show every game of the AFL live from next year. Delany wasn't in charge then, he was executive director of sales and product development at Foxtel, but he's the one who will reap all the benefits.
The deal, which will see it simulcast four games from free-to-air rights holder Seven, marks a significant change for televised sport in Australia. It's the first time every game of one of the two major sporting leagues will be played live on pay TV.
While it was a boon for the AFL (who were able to boast a $1.253 billion media rights deal), it could also be a boon for Foxtel.
Ian Frykberg, who advised on the deal for Fox Sports, says live sport will help drive subscribers for the pay network. Premier fought hard for live coverage to boost its hold on the tight-shorts game.
"Live coverage is very important to a sport, exclusively live coverage is increasingly valuable to broadcasters because it provides a point of major difference," he tells The Power Index.
Delany also hates coming second. Like the time he finished behind his brother Michael (fifth overall) at the swimming trials for the '82 Commonwealth Games.
On that occasion his brother went on to win gold as part of the relay team known as the 'Mean Machine'. It was a life lesson for Delaney, who recently told The Australian that "nobody remembers second. They don't. It's an unfortunate fact of life".
Now, with the AFL in the bag, Delany's next step will be looking to increase Fox Sports' share of the most valuable sports rights properties. Like next year, when the NRL rights come up for auction.
There is already speculation that the code expects to score a cheque with a similar number of zeroes as the AFL. If that's to happen then Fox Sports, which enjoy excellent ratings for the NRL, will very much need to be in the picture.
But some commentators have suggested locking Fox Sports out from the negotiations, because they have shown their hand as preferring to focus on the AFL.
It's enough to have Delany cautious about keeping one of his most-valued entities.
"It would make sense for us to try to get all games live but I would have to look at the value equation before going ahead with anything," Delany told The Australian recently.
Losing the NRL would be a disaster for Fox Sports. Foxtel's penetration in Sydney (38%) and Brisbane (32%) is higher than the national average of 30%, largely because of its exclusive NRL coverage. Last year, when 99 of Pay-TV's top 100 shows were sport-related, a majority were NRL broadcasts.
But even without the NRL, Fox Sports still has a stranglehold on sports programming. They've got the rights to show pretty much every major sport, most of which would not get decent coverage without Fox Sports.
And aside from the ABC, they are the only broadcaster providing at least a nominal amount of women's sport: some 10% of their coverage is devoted to it.
But it's not all gravy for Delany. Apart from money, the other major aspect curbing Premier's power to take even more sport across to pay TV is the communications minister's anti-siphoning list, which protects the biggest sporting events from not being free.
Currently the 'Tier A' list includes events like the AFL and NRL grand finals; the soccer World Cup and the Australian Open. Should that list ever be relaxed, you can bet Fox Sports will become even more powerful.
But with the rights to rugby league, cricket and soccer all up for renegotiation soon, it seems likely Delany's domination of everything else is going to continue. You'd better get ready to pay for it.