Storm brewing over NRL delays in Melbourne

NRL fans in Melbourne are campaigning for Nine to screen a match between top teams Melbourne Storm and Manly earlier than its scheduled timeslot of 11:30pm.

Instead it will screen Two and a Half Men, The Mentalist, CSI and CSI: Miami.

On its Wide World of Sports Facebook page, fans have let fly:

Andrew Blair: Wide World of Sports? Obviously not wide enough as apparently GTV9 don’t think Rugby League is a worthy sport to show live! Show the Melbourne Storm vs Manly Sea Eagles game live on Friday!!!

Brad Hopkins: Wide World of Sports (If you live in NSW or Qld)…

Aaron McConnell: C’mon 9 – Manly v Melbourne is a top-of-the-table clash and a likely grand final preview. Surely it’s worth putting this live in Melbourne?

Nick Smith: channel 9 are a disgrace to rugby league !! cant wait to you lose the rights!!

Quan Dang: What a joke…. Re-runs of two and a half men over Melb V Manly… U folks at channel 9 continue to neglect Rugby League in Melb at ur own peril!

Melbourne Storm has also issued a statement to its members: “It goes without saying that we too are deeply disappointed that this game will not be broadcast live on the Nine Network Friday.

“Unfortunately the decision is not ours, it rests solely with the Nine Network. We have been in constant communication with Nine again this week in an attempt to get the match broadcast, but to no avail. There is nothing more this Club can do in this instance.”

On Saturday the Tri-Nations rugby union match will screen live on GEM, but fans are upset the NRL won’t get the same multichannel treatment. Such a move would require an exemption from the Minister for Communication, Stephen Conroy.

While Nine is in a crucial ratings fight with Seven this week, it isn’t taking any risks with bold programming moves.

Media buying guru Harold Mitchell says parties negotiating the next TV rights deal had to be realistic.

“They have to work on that flexibility rather than try for the impossible, which just won’t be done. If you try and make too many demands of the network, you won’t get anywhere,” he told the Herald Sun.

“The high watermark is the AFL, and they achieved their result with a great sense of co-operation with their media partner.”

Source: A-Team Sport


  1. Brain Damaged

    ALF is running scared and always has been. They pidgeon hole every other sport, not just RL. If Victorians were exposed to ‘culture’ from the majority states, being NSW and QLD, AFL would crumble and fall and no one would care about it. The only way they can keep their special little AFL culture, is to make sure it isn’t shown on TV and only gets poor press in the Victorian media.

    I’m sure if they pumped Lawn Bowles into your heads from child birth and made it massive TV event, blocking all other games, Lawn Bowles would be the ‘premier’ sport in Victoria. What a joke…wake up Victoria, stop running scared of the Rugby codes – you know, the games that the rest of the world play?

  2. @the bitter Pill “How many of those Facebook messages are from real people that live in Melbourne?”

    I know 3 out of the 5 live in Melbourne and go to the Storm Home games

  3. @ J Shaw. Don’t blame Conroy. 9 won’t ask him

    “Special permission was required from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to show the game live in Melbourne with the new anti-siphoning laws yet to be tabled in Federal Parliament.

    But executives from Channel 9 won’t be making a similar request to show Storm’s Round 24 and Round 25 blockbusters against St George Illawarra, at home, then Manly away – both on Friday nights – live anywhere other than Sydney.”

  4. If there are people in Melbourne who would rather watch a years-old 2.5 Men repeat than a major live sporting event, I weep for them. The only good thing about this is that it increases the odds of the NRL just dumping Nine altogether at the next rights deal. It would be sad for Nine’s rugby league staff, but their management’s contemptuous attitude towards one of their only remaining premium brands is unbelievable and deserves to be punished.

  5. Nine should be contractually required by the NRL to give the games to Foxtel in situations like this. I know it would never rate in southern states, so rather than completely ruin it for fans of the sport they should stick it where people can watch it.

  6. Channel 9 should not get next NRL tv rights when they come up in 2012. Communications minister stephen conroy should allow channel 9 to show Melb Storm on the GO! or GEM channel at a earlier time slot.

  7. @the bitter pill: I disagree with your comment that most of the people commenting on the Channel Facebook page are probably not real or Melbournians… We currently have over 10,000 Melbourne Storm ‘pumped up, paid up, purple” members. We currently have over 99,000 people ‘likes’ on our Melbourne Storm page on Facebook.

    I feel it is insulting to the Victorians, whether adopted by the state from other states of Australia or overseas, and locally born Victorian to be branded as ‘virtual’. Perhaps we just happen to be passionate about our rugby league team. Do not be surprised that we do not dog or speak unkindly of our team when they lose, or when scandal runs riot through the team – what Melbourne Storm fans are excellent at – is being passionate and patriotic for the team.

    In reference to your comment “The Storm are a joke that will die just as soon as News cuts the purse strings.” This is a bit of a farce as we have grown in numbers even though we had the terrible year last year – playing for no points and premierships taken away from us.

    So, regardless of whether you are an avid baseball, AFL, NFL, NRL, Cricket, Soccer or Union fan – regardless of what sport you are passionate for – if a television station has the rights to the live broadcast of that particular sport – it should be the television station’s very objective to 1) show the broadcast and 2) listen to what the viewers are requesting and to provide a reasonable response when requested. There is a reason why the first NRL State of Origin is being played in Melbourne next year (which tickets have already started being on sale for NRL members) and that is because – The game is popular in Melbourne. I am not having a go at ya mate, I just wish people would stop making such ludicrous assumptions! Hopefully Channel ‘Nein’ will either listen to the people or give up their rights for next year at least!

  8. the bitter pill

    Why doesn’t channel nine show Melbourne’s own baseball team live in prime time? Because nobody cares. Nobody cares about Storm, most of the city don’t even recognize it as a Melbourne team. How many of those Facebook messages are from real people that live in Melbourne? The Storm are a joke that will die just as soon as News cuts the purse strings.

  9. Forgot to add that 9 are getting so hammered on their facebook page they adjusted the default filter so these appear hidden

  10. billy ray valentine

    in a few weeks time, when the west coast eagles play collingwood on a friday night in the first week of the AFL finals, whats the bet that channel 7 perth show it on delay…. from 6:30pm.
    if they do, the pressure will need to be there for it to be live on 7 mate…….

  11. Nine tries to claim they are Melbourne’s own, tries to pass themselves off as a Melbourne channel and yet they deliberately ignore Melbourn’s NRL team – despite our success, record membership, record match attendance, and growing viewing figures.

    What a joke.

  12. @DF. Because GEM is the Nine Network’s HD channel and GEM was originally going to broadcast all their sport on GEM, simulcast with Nine. If there are any programs that should be shown in HD it is sport, not Antiques Roadshow.

  13. GEM is being marketed at a girlie channel, as opposed to 7maaaaaaaaaate being a blokey channel. Why show any football on GEM at all and not go to the main station? (and yes I say this as an NRL tragic).

    Was the Storm V Dragons game shown live last week?

  14. Channel 9 need to wake up and show Storm’s away games Live into Melbourne/Victoria. How do they expect to grow the game when they show Friday night games at midnight? It doesn’t need to become an AFL v NRL debate. Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia and there is plenty of room for all codes.

  15. @David. The Collingwood vs. Fremantle game is in Perth, not Melbourne. Will be broadcast live into Melbourne at 8:40pm (6:40pm Perth time). While the Storm vs. Sea Eagles from Sydney will be on at 7:30pm (Syd & Bris).

  16. @ Adam
    not sure what game your thinking about but the last storm game that aired in melbourne was on a sunday arvo live into melbourne and got 80,000.
    I cant remember the last time there has been a live friday night game into melbourne.

    and storm games into melbourne rate better than what afl games into sydney do.

  17. What a joke – the biggest NRL game so far of the season & Channel 9 want to show old re-runs. How can that be? I’m sure both Manly & Storm supporters in Victoria will think twice about watching 9 in the future. I’m bewildered.

  18. And Mr Gallop tells Foxtel/PMG that if they don’t pay the right $$$ for NRL rights he will sell to Nine.

    The best team in the competition and the only team in town can’t even get priority over Two and a Half Men re-runs from 2005.

  19. Watching Rugby League in Melbourne is a joke. Usually you’ll have to track down a pub somewhere which airs a delayed feed from the NT late at night. Okay, so AFL rules the roost in Melbourne – that’s fine. But to not show any league games at a reasonable hour is a double standard when AFL is available in every other state to watch, including NSW and QLD, traditionally bigger followers of league than AFL. I don’t think it’s asking too much for one game a week to be shown at a reasonable hour. The Storm are on top of the ladder and have a legion of fans down there.

  20. The broadcaster holds the rights to the code with the Number 1 team in the league playing the Number 2 and cannot play that game live in competition leaders city.
    I can’t wait to see how “ohyeah” would respond to this one, after reading his mindless rants regarding the helicopter he may actually injure himself if he reacted relative to Nines ineptitude over this one.
    Ps Everyone needs a nemesis and this clown could be yours sort of like Batman and the Joker, Kerry Packer and Paul Barry, Julia Gillard and the Australian public.

  21. It’s not Collingwood vs. Geelong on Friday, it’s Collingwood vs. Fremantle in Perth which will be another lop sided game. The perfect night to show the Storm vs. Sea Eagles live on GEM.

  22. The so called transmission rules are still in the 19th century and must have been created shortly after the first fleet landed. Everyone involved needs to move quicker in this rapidly changing environment. Internet based smart tv is going to wipe out traditional fta if all parties involved do not step up to the plate soon.

  23. I can’t believe Nine surely the NRL game featuring Melbs own team would rate better than sitcom repeats?!?!?
    Melbourne and number 1 and manly number 2 it’s going to be a big big game

  24. I am a huge Storm fan and live in NSW, which I am glad at as the only time the game is delayed is when WIN show the double header. I hope FOX Sports do buy all the NRL rights next year as it is about time this country got the same programming – no matte their position and timezone.

  25. Getting Harold Mitchell to comment on the Media right is crap. He is part of the Rebels Rugby Union Camp.
    Being a storm Supporter
    I do not want it live. I want it on at a reasonable hour (ie 9:30pm). Even on Go or GEM.

    If Brisbane Fox Sports games are played at 10:30pm that night, Why Can’t the Storm?

    Storm get there games shown on Sunday this year but Why Friday?

    It is wrong, I am sick of excuses

  26. NRL fans are very vocal. A NRL game would never rate higher than AFL in VIC, SA or WA and surely NRL fans know that. NRL would only ever be live in these states on Foxtel.

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