Nick Riewoldt shocks TV networks with abrupt call amid bidding war

Nick Riewolt has put family first, despite the likes of Fox, Channel 7 and Channel 9 all keen to recruit the former AFL star.

Nick Riewoldt is pictured on the sidelines of an AFL match.
Nick Riewoldt has opted out of a potentially lucrative TV bidding war for his services in favour of relocating to Houston with his family. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt has left multiple TV networks stunned after opting against a potentially lucrative deal in favour of heading to the United States with his wife and family. The AFL great was at the centre of a bidding war between the likes of Fox Sport, Channel 7 and Channel 9 with his deal with Fox set to expire at the end of 2022.

Riewoldt, who has enjoyed a consistent broadcasting career since retiring from the AFL at the end of 2018, loomed large as someone who might take on further roles on air. Channel 7 had interest in hiring him to fill the vacant spot on their broadcasting team left by former AFL great Wayne Carey.

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Instead, Riewoldt has stunned all parties by opting to take a 12-month sabbatical with his family in his wife Catherine Heard's native Texas, with the pair to settle down in Houston. The Herald Sun reported the couple's children attended school in Houston for a term, with the family set to make the move permanent for at least the next 12 months, starting in January.

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Rival networks had made major plays to woo Riewoldt in the past few months, with the 336-game veteran's turn on Channel 10's Celebrity Masterchef last year reportedly enough for Channel 7 to offer him a place on a lifestyle program in an attempt to sweeten their deal. Riewoldt impressed many with his work on Fox, in which he appeared on flagship program On the Couch, as well as sports entertainment show Best On Ground.

Riewoldt also stepped in for Carey on Triple M following his WA casino controversy earlier in 2022, as well as making guest appearances on Fox's AFL 360. He and his cousin, Richmond champion Jack Riewoldt, worked together to found a charity in honour of Nick's sister Maddie, who died of a rare blood disorder back in 2014.

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The Saints and Tigers have hosted 'Maddie's Match' for several years, with both teams adding a splash of purple to their guernseys to raise money for research. “She wanted to begin work on some sort of charity where she could help prevent others going through everything she’d been through,” Nick said in 2015.

Jack spoke in 2018 about how he got up in front of his Richmond teammates and spoke about his admiration for the way Nick had handled the death of his sister Maddie. “In this room last year, we went through a process of what we would say our hardest moment of our life is, the highlight of the moment and the hero,” Jack said.

“I stood up in front of all my teammates and it was pretty awkward, because I suppose I spoke about Nick being my hero — and I’d actually never told him about this.

“I sat in the front row and watched an older brother talk about his sister that passed away in a way that I could never imagine. I thought ‘I am the luckiest bloke in the world that I have literally got my hero just in reach in life’ — just there.”

Nick was left stunned by the clip, lost for words as he appeared to fight back tears. “I haven’t seen that. It’s pretty special,” he said.

“I’m obviously really proud of him and he’s come a long way as a person. It’s interesting that his maturity as a person has mirrored his maturity as a footballer. I don’t really know how to react to that to be honest. That’s pretty special.”

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