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Nine Submits $30 Million Bid For Rugby Australia Broadcast Rights

C
hannel Nine has submitted a $30 million bid for a Rugby Australia broadcast rights package, after it was reported last week Foxtel made a bid between $35-$40 million and Network Ten made an ‘underwhelming’ offer.

The key to Nine’s offer includes the proposal for the free-to-air broadcaster to show games on its popular streaming platform ‘Stan’, which has two million subscribers, compared to Foxtel’s Kayo, which had 600,000 subscribers in September.

It has also been reported Nine’s offer is for a short-term period and would depend on the success of Rugby Australia and the still uncertain future of the Super Rugby competition.

Foxtel, Ten and Sky are nearing the end of their five-year broadcast rights deal with Rugby Australia that was signed in 2015, with Ten saying they don’t want to pay a large sum for the rights due to a declining audience.

Network Ten chief sales officer, Rod Prosser, said last week the average international test audience for Rugby Australia matches has dropped from 345,000 in 2015 to 194,000 in 2019.

“Sport obviously attracts advertisers, especially blue-chip advertisers in droves,” Prosser said.

“What our customers are mostly doing right now is the audience [a sport] supplies.

“A low-rated sport just for the sake of the sport is not beneficial to me,” he said.

There has been no confirmation at this stage if a joint broadcast bid between Nine and Foxtel will be made, similar to the 2015 deal with Ten and Foxtel, which is likely the cause of Nine’s Stan proposal.

Foxtel is still considered the front-runner to claim the broadcast rights, after broadcasting rugby games in Australia for two decades.

Nine’s $30 million offer includes Super Rugby rights, Wallabies international test rights and the upcoming Tri-Nations Rugby Championship across both its free-to-air network and Stan.