NRL announce new TV deals for Asia-Pacific region

Rugby League fans across Asia and the Pacific Islands will be able to watch every match of the 2011 Telstra Premiership live through a combination of new Free-to-Air and PayTV broadcast deals and a new online streaming service, LIVENRL.TV, announced by the NRL today.

For the first time ever, www.livenrl.tv will offer fans living or travelling in Asia and the Pacific Islands as well as Europe, Great Britain, Ireland, the USA, South America, Canada and Africa, a subscription package that provides online access to up to eight live matches per round (subject to television broadcasts in each region) as well as full replays of every match, highlights and post-match interviews.

Today’s announcement follows the recent signing of television broadcast agreements with Free-to-Air network FijiTV and subscription providers Sky Pacific and Setanta Sports (Asia), which replace the Australia Network deal and will deliver coverage of the Telstra Premiership and Harvey Norman State of Origin Series to fans in the Pacific Islands and Asia for 2011 and 2012.

“The increased coverage provided by these new agreements gives people around the world the opportunity to watch the best Rugby League competition in the world,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.

“The combined resources of these agreements will allow fans to watch every match of the Telstra Premiership live each week as well as the biggest representative matches of the year.”

“Rugby League has a passionate following across the Pacific Islands and these fans in particular will have access to more Free-to-Air coverage than ever before.”

Subscription to the LIVENRL.TV service starts from $19.95 USD per month, with viewers in the USA and South America able to watch eight matches live per week while viewers in Ireland and Europe will receive five matches live and three matches delayed per week.

In Africa, Asia, Canada, Great Britain and the Pacific Islands, viewers will be able to watch three matches live per week through the service, with the remaining five matches available on delay.

In addition to the online streaming service, a new Free-to-Air broadcast agreement with FijiTV (Fiji 1) will take two games live and one game delayed during each round of the Telstra Premiership, as well as the Harvey Norman State of Origin Series to fans in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue and Tuvalu.

FijiTV will also deliver five Telstra Premiership games per round into Papua New Guinea through EMTV and every match of the Telstra Premiership live (where no games clash) into the Pacific Islands via their subscription TV service, Sky Pacific.

“Rugby League is one of those sports that has an extremely passionate fan base,” FijiTV Group CEO, Mr Tarun Patel, said.

“We are particularly pleased to be able to bring that passion and intensity to the Pacific Islands on Fiji 1 and Sky Pacific and on EMTV in Papua New Guinea.

“What is particularly satisfying is that the entire competition is played in our time-zone and features many players with family ties to Fiji and the Pacific Islands.”

In Asia, a new two-year deal with Setanta Sports will see a minimum of five Telstra Premiership matches per round broadcast live into countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Brunei, with subscribers to also receive weekly highlights and the Harvey Norman State of Origin Series.

Matches will be broadcast on Setanta’s new rugby channel, which the network intends to expand across all major Asian countries.

MD Setanta International, Mr Roger Hall, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the NRL.

“Setanta Sports is already the natural home across Asia for top-flight rugby union and the NRL is a fantastic addition to our strong line up.

As we roll out across the region we look forward to giving fans of the National Rugby League competition better coverage than ever before.”

The new agreements see FijiTV, Sky Pacific, EMTV and Setanta Sports (Asia) join a suite of NRL broadcasters which includes the Nine Network, Premier Media Group (Fox Sports), Sky NZ, Orbit Showtime Network (Middle East), SkySports and Premier Sports in the UK, Eurosport2 and Setanta Sports (Africa and Canada).