Nine in $1B bid for NRL rights

Close of business on Monday is the deadline for Nine, Foxtel and digital rights holder Telstra to retain the NRL rights.

As the current license holders, they get to make first and last bids on the rights but the ARL Commission is expected to field other offers, especially from Seven.

The Daily Telegraph reports Nine has launched a $1B bid, but proposes six new 30 second commercials to recoup an annual $35m.

These would include 30 second breaks for scrum stoppages, line dropouts and after tries are scored.

“It takes an average 35 seconds for sideline restarts, 25 seconds for line drop-outs and 23 seconds for try restarts,” NRL director of football Nathan McGuirk said.

“So we’re not going to be radically slowing down the game with these changes.”

Nine currently charges $50,000 for 30-second commercials during Friday night games, making $300,000 during live play. Under the new deal, that would double to $600,000. The overall time of a game would increase from 90 to 95 minutes.

It is also seeking four games on Thursday nights and Sunday’s live game to begin at 4pm.

Seven will bid aggressively for the NRL rights, but its recent financial downgrade might impact its success, or force a joint bid with TEN. But it could also drive up the cost Nine ultimately pays.

Source: Daily Telegraph, The Australian


  1. One thing not mentioned in the article is how games are chosen. IIRC, Nine get first, second (Friday nights) and fifth game (Sunday) chooses. Is that still the case?

    Good to see Nine are going to show the Sunday game live (although quite honestly an hour delay didn’t bother me)

    Would would be great is if GEM showed the ‘other’ Friday game live in Qld and NSW. In New Zealand, both Friday games are shown live in HD, and (most of the time) the other game is shown afterwards..

    I would prefer the two Friday night games rather than one Friday and one Saturday game. Not sure Mrs Bogues would be happy with me watching league both nights :-)

  2. Why does the NRL need to let channel 9 stuff around with the game and what is the obsession with games on FTA being absolutely live. The Solution is simple and the rights should be like this:
    1. All games live on Fox Sports.
    2. FTA networks are sold 3 – 4 games per week which they can show when they wish to and with ads if they choose. If they want to show it ‘live’, the simply show it ‘near live’ and insert an add or two when they want to. This would mean by the end of the first half the game might be 2 – 3 minutes behind ‘live’ and then by the end of the game it might be 5 minutes behind ‘live’. Almost everyone wouldn’t care if it was 5 minutes behind ‘live’.

    Assuming nine gets the rights, I could see something like Nine showing a Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon game. If there were 2 games on Friday night, nine would show the Sydney game in Sydney, QLD game in QLD and Win and NBN could show Dragons and Knights games respectivelly such as what happened last friday night. Similary, if there are 3 games on Saturday night, Nine could then choose which of the 3 games they wanted to show.

    This approach would also allow for fixed scheduling for the entire season but nine wouldn’t have to choose the actual games it showed until a week or 2 before and this wouldn’t impacted the scheduling.

    Fair dinkum, it is not that hard and doesn’t require the game to be messed around with line the clowns at 9 want to.

  3. Do Nine really do such an awful job?? Sure their out of state scheduling could improve…they could sack Brad Fittler…they could use HD…but I would argue that their broadcast product is right up there with any other sport out there, possibly better. Warren, Sterling and Gould are my favourite commentary team in Aussie sports right now (sure I hate Gus, but he helps bring the game alive), and the production values and camera work are always excellent.

  4. It’s what I’ve been banking on. Packer wants the footy so his ‘two pies’ both profit. Ten has to bid, the writing has been on the wall for months.

    Agreed, Seven will counter-bid just to drive up the price.

    Will be interesting. I wonder if John Edwards will be producing the mini-series? lol

  5. We are moving to US model, same sport 6 or seven days a week. Terrible

    Last time 7 had them Moose Mossop was the caller. Sevens Big League.

    With all the investment and 7 doing AFL, NRL won’t risk a move. They hate the AFL

  6. perth tiger

    you might think 7 do a good job with the afl. but here in perth they dont show the friday night game live in what is the second biggest market for afl.
    i cant see them treating the nrl any better

  7. I agree with The Rock. I think that if Seven can get their hands on the NRL rights, they will and they can. With Nine starting to rise again from The Voice, Seven will probably want to grab what is arguably Nine’s biggest staple.

  8. Would love to see Seven get the rights (Ten don’t have the cash of a clue). Seven have just shown they know how to handle sports a million times better than 9 with the way they cover the V8’s and AFL, making full use of their multi-channels.

    Nine retaining the rights with the prospect of even more advertisements is a scary thought. Only if, like AFL, stoppages in play were co-ordinated with the ads (commercials between goals) could I see it work. Example, a scrum is called for and the clock is off, players get an extra few minutes to recouperate, may last a little longer on the field, and no coverage is lost. Too many times have Nine cut to commercial, only to return when 3 tackles have been made and play is on, and their in-game coverage is getting poor, with a penchant for showing replays when play is in progress, or showing shots of the crowd or players on the bench.

    Seven have the money, and with 7 7Mate and 7Two, they have ample opportunity to screen V8’s, AFL and NRL all season, what a massive opportunity for them. And they might treat NRL viewers with respect (unlike 9).

  9. Don’t care who gets the rights just as long as all games are shown live. The delayed telecast on Sunday afternoon is pathetic.

  10. Secret Squirrel

    I don’t have a dog in this fight but those of you hoping that Seven win the bid but also wanting live games (outside of NSW & QLD) will find NRL playing second fiddle no, make that third triangle, to AFL when match times clash. Your best bet is to hope for a joint bid with Ten.

  11. I really hope Seven steal the rights out from underneath Nine. Talking Nine where the hell are they getting this money from? They owe the banks money yet they can put a $1bn bid in? It just makes no sense to me. So what their debt moves to over $3.5bn? Seven have kept very very quiet about the whole thing ad something tells me they have a plan. They only have to either bid above 20% or have the game split into sections for Nines last bid rights to deteriorate. Now the waiting game.

  12. I read the other week that FOX Sports were bidding $1.9bn with Nine for the NRL rights and I took that as they would be showing all games live (like has happened with the AFL), but if Nine are allowed to continue delaying the second Friday night and the Sunday afternoon games, as well as delaying the games for advertising they are only going to reduce the NRL fan base (with the NRL constantly trying to increase their fan base to compete with the huge crowds achieved by the AFL – 60k+ at an AFL game compared to 15k at an NRL game). FOX Sports and most probably TEN would be the best fit when considering TEN’s currently bare major league sports scheduling (no longer having AFL, and loosing motorsports fans every week with delayed broadcasts), and it’s not like Seven needs anymore sports or viewers (already having the Australian Open and the AFL). Hopefully the ARL seriously considers what Nine would do to the sport if they gain the rights compared to FOX Sports and another FTA network.

  13. to the people that say 7 should go for the rights. i’ll tell you now it won’t be an improvement on 9s coverage it will more than likely be worse

  14. Seven has cash, Nine doesn’t. Even if Seven doesn’t want it they will push up the cost for Nine, like the WB deal etc.
    Nine could put the “live” on delay – 5 secs here, 10 secs there – to squeeze commercials in without anyone complaining about missing anything.

  15. Anyone but Nine. Nine have had the rights for too long and treated rugby league like crap, particularly in SA. I’d be happy for a Seven/Ten bid. As long as they show games live in Adelaide.

  16. Unless 7 or 10 outbid 9 with some crazy price dollar amount I can’t see 9 just giving up.
    I do hope that State of Origin is brought in a separate bid though.

  17. Where on earth have Channel Nine received the money from as last I check they were in debt to the tune of $2.64Billion dollars or is the money coming from there great mates at Foxtel and Fox Sports, I think that Channel Seven/ Channel Ten bid is more likely to top and succussed that of a Foxtel/ Channel Nine Bid!!!

  18. Seven will get the rugby league rights at a cost of 1.2 billion. You have to understand how first and last bid rights work. Nine and co have put in an offer for 1 billion for the rights. Under first and last bid rights if Seven or anyone else for that matter matches the offer and adds 20 percent on top then Nine does not get the last bid rights. So its in Sevens court, if they want to pay 1.2 billion they will get it. Seven have saved money through no Olympics which is about 160 million and Mr Stokes has been selling off assets in the USA to come up with this money. The downgrade in profits would be worse for Nine and Ten so this is not an issue. If Ten are willing to pay they will join Seven in the bid. Seven were not happy with the AFL rights where they were made to allow Fox Sports to show all games live except the grand final and this will be payback for Seven with Fox Sports.

  19. tihsamikah

    completely agree with this.
    9 need to guarantee ad breaks, and this would do it. 9 Melbourne run ad’s after most try’s on friday night games, where 9 sydney are still showing the try scorer with an on field camera., which while nice, would be a great spot for an ad. Hey its commercial tv.

    As much as I love super saturday on fox sports, I also think that FTA need a game saturday night. Maybe until another 2 teams are brought in, maybe one of the friday night games go to thursday for nine? Foxtel are going great guns with their monday night game

  20. The big question over the rights deal, which IMO wont change networks is whether or not the rugby league commission push for ever game to be shown live without question. Love the fact of 4 FTA games but I don’t think a Thursday night game will work every week. Surely Nine can work out how to get a FTA game on Saturday.

  21. Please anyone but channel 9, they already have the rights currently and they screw up the telecast especially for us Melbourne storm supporters the games are never live unlike the otherstates which are live , don’t care who gets it anyone but channel 9

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.