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. 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

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