Foxtel has admitted it was the broadcaster who accidentally ran old crowd footage during a recent NRL match, but has claimed it was a technical issue rather than anything sinister.
Yesterday, B&T published claims made by Seven West Media’s Yahoo 7 that NRL broadcasters had run old fan footage in an attempt to hide dismal crowds at recent games.
The allegations were vague about which particular broadcaster had erred; however, Channel Nine has categorically denied it was them.
However, Foxtel has admitted to B&T that one of its producers did indeed run old footage during a Friday night match on Friday the 16th of June during a Titans-Rabbitohs match.
A spokesperson for the broadcaster telling B&T: “During the Rabbitohs v Titans Round 15 simulcast 8pm match, a producer aired archived vision after failing to time out the half time break. It was an error in judgment which we have addressed. This is not a regular practice of FOX SPORTS.”
Interestingly, the original Yahoo 7 article implied the footage was run during the Rabbitohs-Dragons match from August the 4th. It was a Thursday night game that would’ve been played on both Nine and Foxtel.
It’s unclear why a broadcaster would want to embellish crowd attendance numbers when its main concern is to get fans to watch the broadcast at home or in pubs and clubs.
The NRL has admitted that 2017 crowds are down (averaging just 13,000) but this could be due to a number of reasons. It’s been a particularly cold Sydney winter that would’ve kept many away, while there has been more broadcasts. Channel Nine now offer four free live games a week on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
However, attendances have been falling over the past five years and that’s despite the NRL’s attempts to get more people back to games including cheaper ticket prices, more family-friendly kick-off times and even cheaper meat pies at grounds.