Channel Nine appear set to snub the Wallabies’ crucial Pool C encounter with Ireland on Saturday September 17, with the match playing second-fiddle to the NRL semi-finals and likely be shown on a three-hour delay at 9.45pm, with digital channel GEM currently not planned to be utilised.
Broadcast information obtained by The Roar on Friday indicated that the match, kicking off at 6:30pm (AEST) on September 17, would be broadcast into Sydney and Brisbane at 9.45pm upon the completion of the NRL semi-final, played at 7.30pm.
Melbourne and Adelaide fans will wait until five hours after the kick-off, with the match screened at 11.30pm while fans in Perth will see the match at 8.00pm local time.
When contacted by the The Roar, Channel Nine’s programming department confirmed that at this stage the match would be shown at 9.45pm.
They were unable to confirm whether they would be re-scheduling the match to Nine’s digital channel GEM, with Nine currently preferring to broadcast a double episode of Antiques Roadshow at 6.30pm AEST.
Currently, the interim anti-siphoning list requires Australian test matches to be shown first (or at least simultaneously) on Nine’s main channel as a Tier B event.
But Nine’s decision broadcast the two Bledisloe Cup matches live on GEM to Victorian, South Australian and Western Australian audiences last month, following an amendment to the Broadcasting Services Act sets the precedent for the matches to be shown on GEM.
A similiar amendment would allow the matches to be broadcast live, making Nine’s current stance on next Saturday night a difficult one to fathom.
CEO David Gyngell boasted Nine “truly are the Wide World of Sports” – but the preference for NRL ratings will be hard to stomach for rugby fans who had been counting on Nine for their free-to-air coverage.
The Roar calls on Channel Nine to broadcast this vital Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup match live for sports fans across Australia.