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Rugby Australia And Nine Agree ‘Landmark’ $100 Million Broadcast Deal

R
ugby Australia has announced an in-principle, three-year broadcast agreement with Nine Entertainment CO., now subject to final approval by the SANZAAR Unions.

The deal, which is set to commence in 2021 is worth $100 million over an initial three-year period, has a two-year option to extend and will see all Super Rugby AU, Super W, and Super Rugby Aotearoa matches broadcast live and ad-free on Nine’s streaming service, Stan.

As part of the deal, Saturday night Super Rugby AU matches will be live on free-to-air on the Nine Network every week, along with all Super Rugby AU finals matches on free-to-air.

Nine’s Stan will also have exclusive broadcast rights to every Wallaroos Test, The Rugby Championship, The Bledisloe Cup, and all inbound international test matches for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, with select matches to also be shown on free-to-air.

Rugby Australia interim chief executive, Rob Clarke, said Australian rugby will benefit from additional investment for growing fan engagement from grassroots up.

“Firstly, on behalf of Rugby Australia, I’d like to thank everyone involved in this process,” Clarke said.

“A special thank you to FOX Sports and Foxtel as well as its chief executive, Patrick Delany, who have done so much for our game throughout its professional history.

“We have enjoyed great highs over our 25-year partnership, and we would not be in the position we are today without their support.

“I would also like to acknowledge Network Ten and Beverley McGarvey who, over the last five years, have been ardent supporters of rugby in Australia and have helped take our game into new homes right across our country.

“Rugby Australia is very excited about our new partnership with Nine Entertainment Co. and what’s in store for our great game over the next three years and beyond.

“I would like to make special mention of Nine’s CEO, Hugh Marks, and Stan’s CEO, Mike Sneesby, for their professionalism throughout this process, as well as their shared vision for the future success of rugby in our country.

“Rugby has found its new home on Stan and the Nine Network, with broad reach on free-to-air television as well as ad-free, extensive access on the Stan platform.

“The fantasy has become a reality for the Australian rugby community.

“This is a landmark deal that includes everything in the showbag, and it gives more Australians more access to more rugby than ever before.

“Australian rugby is transforming with an exciting future ahead, and this innovative partnership enables us to fast-track that growth from the grassroots up as well as showcase and promote the game like never before.

“We’re particularly pleased for Super Rugby to be live on free-to-air for the first time in its history.

“We’re also thrilled to partner with streaming service Stan, which now boast more than two million Australian subscribers and are growing at a rapid rate.

“We’ve recognised that the broadcast landscape has changed, and we’re changing with it.

“Nine and Stan have also made a commitment to our women’s game, both at a domestic and international level.

“Rugby Australia is passionate about the growth of the women’s game in Australia and we look forward to working closely with them to showcase our competitions and talented players as well as encouraging more women and girls to pick up a rugby ball,” he said.

Stan CEO, Mike Sneesby, said the partnership is unique as it’s Stan’s first entry into live sports broadcast, after previously being known exclusively as a video-on-demand streaming service.

“Rugby Australia is making bold moves in the development of the sport – something that fits perfectly with what we do at Stan,” Sneesby said.

“This partnership with Rugby Australia will see Stan launch its live streaming capability in 2021 as we take Australian sports television into a new era.

“Through the combined audience reach and engagement across Nine’s television platforms we are well positioned to bring rugby union to more Australians than ever before,” he said.