If you were planning to watch the NRL’s top-of-the-table showdown between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm this weekend on free-to-air TV, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed.
Fox Sports will air the game that decides the NRL minor premiership, after the rugby league body decided to neglect the pay TV giant from its original broadcast negotiations with Channel Nine, which were settled before the season even got underway, according to Fairfax.
“Traditionally, the NRL would wait until mid-season to gauge form and interest before locking in the final six rounds of the year, however they surrendered that right as part of its controversial broadcast negotiation strategy,” it said.
Fairfax said the NRL’s approach to negotiate a broadcast rights deal with Nine without including Fox Sports upset the pay TV channel, who were then forced to negotiate a deal of their own with Nine to win back the rights to air Saturday night footy matches.
“As part of the compromise, Fox Sports wanted to pencil in the final six rounds of the season as far back as last year, creating the dilemma the NRL faces on the final weekend of the regular season, with non-pay TV subscribers denied the best matches of the round,” Fairfax said.
The game that Channel Nine is scheduled to broadcast on Sunday will feature two teams who are unable to reach the NRL finals – The Parramatta Eels and the New Zealand Warriors.
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