Is the TV deal good for the fans?
In a landmark day for rugby league in Australia, the ARLC got its wish of a $1 billion TV rights deal, along with some great news for fans.
One of the biggest outcomes for the new television deal is that fans will enjoy a fixed draw for the first 20 rounds. This means punters will know well in advance where their team is playing and on what day/night. This is a great win for both the fans and for clubs. Fingers crossed my team doesn’t have too many night games in winter though.
The positives to this new agreement are that clubs will be able to plan months in advance for promoting and marketing home games. The scheduling will also allow supporter clubs to organise trips to away venues. The fixed scheduling alone will entice higher memberships and allow fans from country areas a better chance to plan their weekends well in advance to see a game of NRL.
But with every winner there must be a loser. Some fans and players will see some negatives with the new agreement. Players will still have to back up two days after Origin games and a lot of fans will not be happy with the scheduling of the grand final, which is back to a 7:15pm kick off.
The later kick off means New Zealand viewers will be watching the game at 9:15pm and it will be even later for our Polynesian neighbours Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands. These nations contribute a large amount of the playing talent in the NRL and they should feel hard done by with the later time slot of the grand final.
I understand the reasoning behind the later kick off, with television ratings the main objective. The later kick off also allows more countries in other parts of the world to watch the biggest game of the year, which is always a good thing for the game.
The ARLC must be congratulated for fighting for the fans. They may not have got everything we wanted but they have done a pretty good job and set up what looks to be a bright future for the greatest game of all.
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