After months of argy-bargy from all parties, the NRL has agreed to new broadcast deals with Channel Nine through to 2022 and Foxtel through to the 2027 season.
Foxtel will continue to broadcast all eight games a week for the shortened 2020 season, with Nine televising three matches per round plus exclusive coverage of the grand final on October 25 and the State of Origin series that will now run in November.
It’s understood that both parties managed to secure a 30 per cent discount on what the NRL was originally asking.
Both Foxtel and Nine have been cagey about what each party is paying, however, it’s being reported that Foxtel was to stump-up $200 million a year for its part of the rights. After the 30 per cent discount – that expires in 2022 – it looks like the pay TV provider will now only have to pay $140 million a season.
Nine’s rumoured to be kicking-in about $90-$100 million a season which, interestingly, it’s decided not to renew past 2022.
Rival 10 has made no secret of its desire to snare top-line live sport including NRL matches.
According to an ASX statement sent to media last night, Nine Entertainment would save about $27.5 million a year on their original deal, but with the season going ahead this reduces originally forecast cost savings for 2020 by $64 million.
The statement read: “As a result of the recommencement of the NRL season, Nine has revised previous cost commentary. On March 30, 2020, Nine highlighted a series of cost initiatives in CY20 that totalled cash savings of $266m, a number that was subsequently increased to $289 million on May 5.
“These estimates included a $130 million saving as a result of the cancellation of NRL Season 2020.
“With this newly committed season 2020 cost, the prevailing cash cost out guidance of $289 million is reduced to $225 million,” the statement read.
The deal was brokered by ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo who’ve both vowed to cut as much as $50 million in costs from the league’s head office.
In April, Nine launched a stinging attack on the NRL – many would argue to lower the right’s asking price – describing it as a “bloated head office completely ignoring the needs of the clubs, players and supporters”. The attack led to the resignation of NRL CEO Todd Greenberg just two weeks later.
Commenting on the new deal, Nine CEO Hugh Marks said: “As we approach the kick-off for the resumption of 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 NRL. 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 at home starting tonight. Let’s now all enjoy the game,” Marks said.
ARLC chairman Peter V’landys added: “I want to thank Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany and Nine CEO Hugh Marks for reaching an outcome that puts the fans and the game’s future first.
“I am delighted to have worked with our long-standing partners Foxtel and Nine to reshape and resume the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. It is significant that on one of the most important days in our game’s history, we have finalised the deals to ensure its future.
“Our negotiations were tough but always in a spirit of goodwill and shared ambitions for the betterment of rugby league. We could not have reached our May 28 restart ambitions without the teamwork and collaboration of our partners,” V’landys said.
Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany said: “Foxtel is incredibly pleased to support the NRL through this difficult period and to have footy back on Foxtel this weekend, every round, every game, live and ad free during play,” said Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany.
“This is a great outcome for footy, for fans and for players. It’s also a hugely important signal to everyone in Australia, 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.
“Being back on the field and back on air tonight doesn’t happen without leadership. I want to acknowledge Peter V’landys AM and everyone at the NRL and the clubs for their passion to get the game back. It’s been outstanding,” Delany said.
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