The National Rugby League and Telstra have cemented the most successful commercial partnership in Australian sport, extending the naming rights for the Telstra Premiership into a record seventeenth season.
Telstra has renewed its association both as naming rights partner for the Telstra Premiership and, in partnership with the NRL, will form NRL Digital Media, a unit dedicated to providing fans unprecedented online, mobile and tablet access to the latest in Rugby League action, debate and entertainment for the next five years.
As part of a game-wide digital strategy committed to providing fans with the ultimate digital experience with the game:
• For the first time, Rugby League fans will be able to watch Telstra Premiership, State of Origin and Test matches live to-air on mobile phones and tablets via the Official NRL App on iPhone and Android, regardless of their carrier. Matches on Channel 9 will be simulcast and those on Fox Sports will be live;
• A full-time NRL Digital Media production unit working out of Rugby League Central will be created that is dedicated to providing fans with the best digital content in Australian sport, including unprecedented levels of video, player interviews and special behind-the-scenes insights;
• Rugby League’s technology platforms will be rebuilt from the ground up, with the NRL, NRL clubs, NSWRL, QRL and One Community all slated for new digital solutions that will give fans fun and easy interactive access to all the latest content;
• Fans will have access to extensive highlights packages during and after games, access to an alternative camera angle during the broadcast and to exclusive post-game features and press conferences on their mobile and tablet devices;
NRL Interim Chief Executive, Mr Shane Mattiske, said Rugby League’s ongoing partnership with Telstra would deliver fans unprecedented coverage of the game.
“The Telstra Premiership is the longest running competition naming rights sponsorship in Australian sport and to extend that with the most significant naming rights sponsorship investment in the game’s history is a wonderful indication of the strength of Rugby League’s brand,” Mr Mattiske said.
“Telstra’s proud history in supporting Rugby League and its fans at all levels of the game, from the Telstra Premiership through to the game’s grassroots and community programs, is at the heart of its commitment to providing the investment and latest technology for a digital network that is changing the ways fans connect with the game.
“Together we have achieved significant growth in the game’s digital network over the past few years and this new investment will fast-track its future development and provide fans with unrivalled coverage and engagement with the game.
“Importantly it is a partnership that ensures Rugby League has the opportunity to create further revenue during the life of the agreement as we expand the opportunities for members and fans.”
Telstra Chief Executive Officer, Mr David Thodey, said Telstra was unmatched in its ability and commitment to deliver Rugby League to more Australians and that match content would be available to all consumers via the NRL App.
“Australians have embraced smartphones and tablet devices and this partnership provides for us to make the app and its live coverage available to all NRL fans where and when they want it,” Mr Thodey said.
“Whether it is watching live coverage of the Telstra Premiership while they are out and about, catching up on latest news or highlights or competing with friends in fantasy football and tipping, the 2013 season will see Telstra and the NRL deliver an unprecedented experience.”
Mr Thodey said that as well as taking the league to a wider audience, the partnership between Telstra and the NRL would support the continued growth, success and enjoyment of the game.
“At NRL games and events, fans will have the opportunity to interact with the sport and their heroes in new and unique ways. Meanwhile we will continue to develop the sport through local community programs,” he said.
“Telstra’s sponsorship of the NRL will help connect more Australians to the sport, whether they are elite players, local clubs or the next generation of players and fans.”