With a May 28 return date now looking increasingly likely, the NRL is still yet to finalise an agreement with its broadcast partners.
Games are expected to be played without crowds, something broadcasters Nine and Foxtel argue devalues the overall product.
This, combined with a shortened season, has meant the broadcasters are now pushing for a reduction in their rights fees.
But according to ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys [feature image] – who has been leading discussions with the broadcasters – the lack of crowds is all but irrelevant.
“I disagree with that vehemently,” he said to the Herald about the prospect of a devalued product. “It’s got nothing to do with the product or what product we’re supplying.”
“You can use all the excuses to reduce it but at the end of it, it’s how much you’re willing to pay. How much you can write in advertising, how much revenue you can get out of the product and work out how much you want to pay for it.
“It’s not about rounds, it’s about money. At the end of the day don’t worry about anything else … it’s the quantum. It’s nothing to do with what you’re supplying. It’s the quantum in these circumstances, in this economic crisis.
“We hope the broadcasters see reason and pay what we ask and then we’ll go from there.”
While it was announced last week the NRL had reached an agreement with broadcasters for a 20-round season, the financial details of this deal are clearly still up in the air.
Foxtel and Nine are reported to be seeking a discount on the existing agreement, with both parties telling the NRL they only want to pay for a 17-round competition.
The volatility around the financial agreement has also been the cause of concern for players.
It was reported last week players were planning to revolt and boycott their return to training this week, as they continue to await details on their own pay.
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