Fox Sports will walk away from rugby union following a 25-year broadcasting partnership, with Rugby Australia set to take its broadcast rights to market this month.
As reported on The Oz, Fox Sports and RA have failed to come to an agreement, with industry rumours suggesting the rugby body will make a deal with Optus.
The existing deal which was signed in 2015 saw Foxtel, 10 and BSkyB pay $285 million over five years to RA, which is a 148 per cent increase on the previous deal.
However, reports are indicating the bid is now in the mid $30 million per year range, which is below the $57 million a year deal which runs out at the end of the year.
Fox Sports and 10 are the domestic broadcasters, with Fox showing all Super Rugby games and both screening Wallabies Test matches.
If Fox walks away, it is being reported RA will be forced to sign a deal with Ten and Optus, who would show Super Rugby on subscription.
B&T reached out to Optus for comment but it declined to comment.
If Optus was to pick up the rights, it would certainly strengthen its streaming offerings which currently include the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Euro 2020 Championships.
The issue of whether sport broadcast rights has reached its peak is an ongoing industry conversation, with Nine’s director of sport Brent Williams previously telling B&T that “they days of just losing money for the sake of having sport […] are gone.”
“From a financial point of view, it’s probably at a tipping point almost right now. Everyone’s aware of that and all the sports bodies are aware of that. We just need to explore different models going forward,” Williams said.