NRL signs off on broadcast deal
Channel Nine and Fox Sports have been awarded the NRL broadcasting rights for the next five years, edging out rival networks Ten and Seven in a deal worth over one billion dollars.
The Australian Rugby League Commission confirmed the landmark contract at a press conference in Sydney on Tuesday morning.
Under the new agreement, Nine will continue to telecast three free-to-air matches per week and retain the rights to all representative fixtures.
Pay television Channel Fox Sports have also maintained their current allotment of five games a week.
The record deal is a major boost for rugby league, with player payments expected to soar making it more difficult for rival codes rugby union and AFL to poach the NRL's biggest stars.
"The whole package is a simply fantastic result for Rugby League," Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman, Mr John Grant, said after signing a formal heads of agreement.
"The cash that comes from the agreement, used wisely, will provide the funding base for sustainably growing our game from the grass-roots to the elite levels.
“The agreement around scheduling answers the request from our clubs and corporate partners for certainty and the inclusion of national coverage will see our fans across Australia able to enjoy their Rugby League.
“Of great importance, and a factor that played heavily into the Commission’s final decision, is the release by News, Fox and Nine of their rights over future ‘first and last’ agreements.
“It reflects the positive spirit of the negotiation process and allows the game greater control in determining the value of its assets in the future.”