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