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Rugby Australia And Nine In Broadcast Rights Talk

N
ine Entertainment Co and Rugby Australia are currently in extensive discussions about a broadcast deal that could reshape the sports rights landscape, which will result in games being shown on streaming platform ‘Stan’.

Last week Foxtel made a bid to secure the broadcasting rights, while Network Ten also made a reportedly ‘underwhelming’ offer to Rugby Australia.

The competition has not stopped Nine from continuing its talks with Rugby Australia, with the two parties still having talks over the price of the deal which has no guarantee to be finalised.

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

However, Rugby Australia has reportedly been interested in striking a deal with Nine because of its free-to-air and subscription platforms, and approached the broadcaster in recent months.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Nine is willing to pay around $30 million a year in cash and free advertising, an offer smaller than what Foxtel has made but one that includes a free-to-air avenue for the sport.

Under the deal, Nine would broadcast Super Rugby, Wallabies matches and the National Rugby Championship across its free-to-air network and subscription streaming service, Stan.

The move would be a first in Australia, with a sport finding a home on a streaming-video-on-demand service.

The deal would follow the likes of Amazon Prime, which secured the rights to the Autumn Nations Cup last month.

Nine chief executive, Hugh Marks, said in August there’s still a lot of work to be done.

“There’s a lot of work that rugby has to do before any broadcaster can get their head around [whether that is] an investment we are prepared to make for long-term gains,” Marks said.

Currently, Foxtel pays between $30m to $40m a year for the rugby rights, but they were hoping to renegotiate the price amid COVID-19.

Rugby Australia has also announced the Rugby Championship has revised its draw following the backlash from New Zealand after they said they were not happy about the scheduling of the fixture.

The last match for New Zealand will now be on December 5 instead of December 12, which means the New Zealand squad will not be in quarantine for Christmas now.