Nine and Foxtel sign revised broadcast deal with NRL

The questions between the NRL and its broadcast partners have finally been answered, with a new broadcast agreement announced overnight for the 2020 season and beyond.

In 2020, Nine will continue to broadcast three games per week and exclusively air the October 25 grand final. Foxtel will air all eight games each round with five exclusive games each weekend. Nine will also exclusively air the three State of Origin matches, scheduled to air November 4, 11 and 18.

NRL is back in bed with its broadcast partners

Nine’s CEO Hugh Marks used the announcement as a chance to congratulate ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo on their work in the deal. Marks butted heads with previous CEO Todd Greenberg before his April exit.

“As we approach the kick off for the resumption of the NRL season 2020, I want to congratulate Peter on his leadership, and also Andrew for stepping into his role in these extremely difficult circumstances. They have both enabled us to confidently move forward and invest in the future of the NRL,” said Marks.

“The team at Nine are in this for the long term and we all look forward to working with the NRL and all the stakeholders, as we continue to build on the success of the game for its long term future.

“Our on-air and production teams have combined to bring even more excitement to the game, further enhancing the experience for the fans staying at home. Let’s now all enjoy the game.”

The announcement, which was made before the kick off of the first NRL game of the season, sees Nine backtrack slightly on the $130m in savings it promised at the beginning of the pandemic when it predicted the cancellation of the 2020 season.

While the NRL has said the financial details of the deal will ‘remain commercial in confidence’, Nine announced to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) last night that it expects a profit and loss (P&L) benefit of approximately $27.5m each year across the three-year deal, resulting in changes from the rights fee and ‘associated production and services arrangements’.

Nine also revised its previous cost commentary, dropping the total cash savings for the year from $289m to $225m.

Foxtel has used the chance to extend its partnership with the sport for another five years, until 2027. CEO Patrick Delany said the provider was delighted with the outcome.

“This is a great outcome for footy, for fans and for players. It’s also a hugely important signal to everyone in Australian, and around the world, that we will get through these times, and we can keep players and coaching staff safe while we all enjoy the game.

“The agreement between Foxtel and the NRL extends our existing broadcast rights for a further five years and cements our position as the Home of NRL until 2027. It provides the NRL with the certainty to continue to develop the status of the game and gives fans the go to destination for the best of NRL, all in one place.”

16 clubs will play in the eight-round 2020 season with the Brisbane Broncos taking on the Paramatta Eels for the first match last night, resulting in a convinced 34-6 win to the Eels.


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