Rugby Australia has released a statement, saying it is in “general discussions with the broader market”, following reports Fox Sports might not renew their broadcast rights partnership.
This news comes after it was reported by The Australian that Rugby Australia rejected a $20 million per year offer from Fox Sports to retain their rights for the next five years.
The statement from Rugby Australia said Fox Sports remains in discussions with the Rugby governing body, despite reports from the Sydney Morning Herald that senior Foxtel sources said Fox Sports has withdrawn a five-year-rights offer for the Super Rugby competition, the National Rugby Championships and Australian Test matches.
“In relation to its media rights, Rugby Australia is currently in general discussions with the broader market about the rights for the period for 2021 to 2025.
“No formal negotiations with the broader market have yet taken place.
“Rugby Australia will commence a formal, rights offer process at an appropriate time before the end of the current rights period.
“Rugby has had a 25-year partnership with Fox Sports and continues to be in discussions with their key executives,” the Rugby Australia statement read.
It has been reported at this stage, the reduced offer from Fox Sports of $20 million per year is due to an increase in Rugby Australia’s desire to sublicense Super Rugby competitions to free-to-air commercial broadcaster, Ten.
According to a report from The Herald, Optus has expressed interest in obtaining exclusive broadcast rights for the competition, with a bid around $30 million per year being discussed.
The current broadcast rights deal with Fox Sports sees Rugby Australia receive a total sum of $285 million, covering the five-year period from 2016 to 2020 and totaling approximately $57 million per year.