Last December I wrote on The Roar outlining the need for action to counter to the lack of rugby league coverage in the southern states by the Nine Network.
Given the advances in capacity for broadcasting – via the internet and extra digital TV channels – it seemed incomprehensible that NRL fans should continue to be blacked out in favour of other programming.
This opinion was echoed by the thousands of perennially neglected NRL fans in the southern state,s and it was most encouraging to see the overwhelmingly positive response to the article.
I also found it amusing that a couple of league haters sprang to the defence of the Nine Network, demanding compensation for the NRL media rights holder if they were to show NRL games at decent hours.
I guess they really like quality shows like Farmer Wants a Wife and Excess Baggage.
Yesterday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy approved the Nine Network’s request to broadcast selected rugby league games on its digital multichannel GEM.
Nine’s managing director Jeffrey Browne stated that “this is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders – the viewers in these markets, the NRL, the Federal Government and of course Nine, whose joint mission is to bring the game to as many people as possible”.
“We are particularly grateful for Minister Conroy’s positive and prompt consideration of the network’s application to make it a reality,” he added.
Ironically, anti-siphoning laws, which were meant to ensure that Australian sports fans could access their favourite game on TV, were in fact in the way of NRL being shown on TV in the southern states.
So there you have it – no mention of compensation, no mention of inferior ratings.
Indeed the ARL commission, Mr Browne and Senator Conroy should all be applauded for their common sense.