Has Nine stolen a jump on its rivals with its NRL rights deal? At A$925m only time will tell if there is a return on its investment. What we can say is: this underpins the value of sports to delivering live audiences and it reinforces that broadcasters will remain the key rights holders for the next rights cycle at least.
Event – Nine secures improved rights but at a cost: Nine is paying A$925m, including contra (quantum not disclosed) for the 2018-22 rights deal. In doing so it has secured the following rights:
The exclusive FTA rights for four live games (from three games of which two are live currently). The games will be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The regular season will be 25 rounds from 26 currently;
Finals series, State of Origin (game two moves to a Sunday evening) and international tests;
Nine has secured the streaming rights for its four FTA games;
The NRL can elect to sell rights to Pay-TV to simulcast certain games shown on Nine. If it does so then the cost of Nine’s rights will reduce based on the simulcast rights sold. It’s unclear whether Nine will provide the broadcast feed (and adverts) for any simulcast games.