The NRL Touch Premiership will be broadcast across four different platforms in 2019, as the league increases from 6 to 8 NRL clubs and a round robin format.
The conference style system that was in place during the premierships debut year in 2018 resulted in only 7 game days, as QLD teams and NSW teams faced off against each other before meeting the winner of each division on Grand Final day.
Now, with the introduction of a round robin format, the league will increase to 26 game days and a regular timeslot, resulting in broadcast deals with Kayo, Fox League, NRL.com and Sky Sport.
“It was important for us to have Sky Sport and NRL.com come onboard with our expansion into New Zealand to include the warriors,” Tim Wyld, commercial manager at NRL Touch Football, told Ministry of Sport.
“In addition to the above partners, the affordability and reach Kayo and Fox Sports bring and the ability to have our product in place relatively quickly is a huge asset for us.”
Netball Australia saw massive financial success when they signed a five-year broadcast rights and revenue sharing agreement with Nine Entertainment in 2017, increasing their revenue by 70 per cent to $26.8 million in 12 months.
Touch Football is set to see similar success, but, will have to make a significant financial investment to cover the cost of travel for teams to compete each week under the new round robin format.
“This is Touch Football Australia’s single biggest investment in 51 years,” Wyld said.
“The NRL Touch Football Premiership is linked to our participation strategy, our fundamental goal is to increase participation through exposure and awareness.
Touch football has recorded a 27% increase in junior participation in NSW alone, with an 11.2% growth across the board.
“With the help of our broadcast partners through consistent coverage of the premiership, we hope to see our viewership numbers skyrocket and our participation trend continue.”
With a combined reach of 23 million on Facebook in 2018, a database topping 280,000 and new broadcast deals, Tim is confident a naming rights partner will see huge value in partnering with the growing sport.
“Obviously viewership and exposure is a huge metric, which we now have, but what touch brings to the table as a unique selling point is a real sense of family and community,” he said.
“A recent study showed 65% of people playing touch classified themselves as a mum dad and two kids.
“We have a clean image and I’m confident this will be our biggest year yet.”
With the Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors fielding Men’s and Women’s teams, the premiership now sits at 8 clubs and 16 teams.
Parramatta Eels and North Queensland Cowboys will face off against each other in the opening round of the NRL Touch Premiership this weekend on Saturday, April 6th.