The ARLC has secured a record broadcast deal for the game after reaching a new free-to-air broadcast agreement with Nine Entertainment until the end of the 2027 season.
The deal, which includes coverage of the Telstra Premiership, Telstra NRLW Premiership and Ampol State of Origin series, ensures that Nine, Fox Sports and Sky TV New Zealand have now all agreed to new partnerships and increased commitments.
The overall value of the NRL broadcast rights is an increase on the current five-year deal, which expires at the end of next season and was reported to be worth $1.8 billion when finalised in 2015.
The total media rights revenue for game under the new deal is now valued at more than $400m per annum for five years, from 2023 to 2027.
After the many challenges the ARLC has overcome to keep the competition alive since the COVID-19 global pandemic, the ability to secure increased commitments from all three broadcast partners highlights their confidence in the game.
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“Broadcast deals generate the largest revenue for our game and having all three broadcasters committed until 2027, at a record level for the game, provides long term financial certainty to invest and plan for the game’s future and the futures of our clubs," ARLC chairman Peter V'landys said.
Significantly, the agreement with Nine, which will see Origin played on Wednesday nights, also includes a joint commitment to grow and promote the game from grassroots participation to the elite level through Nine’s multiple media platforms.
"This is more than a broadcast deal, it’s a partnership to grow rugby league using all of Nine’s media platforms – television, radio and print," V’landys said.
"It was a priority for the Commission to secure the long term future of the game.
"In doing so it was important to ensure that a long term partnership reflected the Commission’s desire to grow the game at all levels, to invest in innovation and to ensure we have a partner that can help grow the game from participation to pathway competitions and premierships."
The new partnership, from 2023-2027, includes:
- A joint commitment to grow and promote the game from grassroots participation to the elite level across all of Nine’s media platforms.
- A focus on broadcast innovation and presentation of the game for fans.
- Nine retaining the exclusive live broadcast rights of the NRL Telstra Premierships Grand Finals Day and the Ampol State of Origin Series. All three Origin games will be played on Wednesday nights.
- Nine continuing to broadcast a live Telstra Premiership game on Thursday and Friday nights as well as Sunday afternoons and a Saturday night game for the final five rounds prior to the commencement of the Finals Series.
- Nine radio continuing to broadcast rugby league via Radio 2GB and 4BC.
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NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the extended partnership ensured fans across Australia would continue to have access to the NRL’s biggest games on free-to-air television and streaming platforms.
"We are also looking forward to working closely with Nine to create innovative ways to enhance the viewing experience and take fans watching at home inside our venues to experience the tribalism at our games,’’ Abdo said.
“Part of this deal is ensuring we work together to grow the game and provide greater exposure to all levels of rugby league across a variety of media platforms. That’s an exciting outcome for our fans and our participants.”
Nine CEO Mike Sneesby said the network was pleased to have extended its 30-year partnership with the game until at least 2027.
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"This certainty will enable both Nine and the NRL to further develop the game for the clubs and the broader NRL community," Sneesby said. "This is an outstanding result and enables us to participate in a strong media partnership delivering quality, and free, NRL coverage for all Australians for the next 6 years.”
Peter Costello, Nine Chairman, said: “This is a major deal for our business to bring this exciting sport to the Australian public across our platforms.
"The negotiation has been constructive and in the spirit of partnership across our businesses and we thank the NRL for the positive engagement in the process for an outcome that benefits all Australians and fans of the game".