Fox and Nine win NRL rights in five-year deal

National Rugby LeagueNine Network and Fox Sports are to continue to share the rights to broadcast NRL games in a new deal with the ARL Commission believed to be worth $1billion overall.

Nine has rights to all FTA broadcast and Fox Sports will provide the subscription TV broadcast along with gaining digital rights.

In what the subscription TV network is describing as a “major coup” Fox Sports will have the digital rights to stream five matches per round via IPTV and tablets.

The deal comprises a cash component of $925m, $90m of which will be paid prior to the start of the first season as well as advertising packages to the value of $100m.

News, Nine and Fox lose their “first and last” rights – the ability to match a rival bid after it has been made – as part of the deal.

Nine Network managing director, Jeffrey Browne said in a press release: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Fox Sports again to bring the Australian audience the best coverage of NRL games for the next five years – Rugby League is a backbone of our business and we are delighted with this result after extensive negotiations.”

The 2012 State of Origin season saw record audience figures for Nine with over 4m tuning in to the third game.

Fox Sports will continue to show five games and Monday night football, and in a new addition another 13 Sunday night games. All matches will be broadcast in HD and have no ad breaks during the game.

Nine will broadcast three weekly matches (two on Friday and one on Sunday), three Thursday evening matches per year, State of Origin on Wednesday nights as well as some other special events including the Roosters Dragons Anzac Day matches and the evening Grand Final.

Nine will also screen a stand-alone Test and City v Country weekend. Nine will also air two hours of rugby league content each evening on digital Channel 94 plus two hours of content on Saturday and Sunday morning. A condition of the deal is that Nine will ensure that all of its matches are aired on either the ‘primary’ or ‘multi-channel’ station in each state.

New Zealand rights as well as mobile and web have still to be determined.


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