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.