Channel Ten to take over Australian rugby coverage
It should be music to the ears of Australian rugby fans: Network Ten has claimed the free-to-air TV rights for the Wallabies from the Nine Network.
Ten, under-fire and with little top-class sport on its books, will broadcast all of the Wallabies southern hemisphere matches, including next year’s Lions tour, for the next three years.
Ten has been handed the rights by Fox Sports and the ARU, which were previously held by Nine. Many rugby fans believe Nine’s job with rugby was woeful.
Starting with last year’s Rugby World Cup, Nine’s handling of the game they play in heaven was often found wanting.
Early on it was clear the NRL was their top priority and World Cup games were shown on long delays. They also served up a commentator, Ray Hadley, who appeared to have little idea on the rules and laws of rugby.
They continued that train wreck this year, showing a telecast of the Wallabies versus Scotland Test at 11.15pm.
And then there was their coverage of the London Olympics, which was a disaster
For me, Nine’s coverage of sport has gone off the boil a while ago. Many of their commentators are outdated and need freshening up, and Nine remains a massive boy’s club.
The network may have been an innovator of the sports broadcasting back in the World Series cricket days, but it has fallen behind the pack.
Rugby goes to a place – Ten – that is in desperate need of some live sport. Ten should hopefully give rugby the respect it deserves, promote the hell out of it and help the sport grow.
It would make sense for Ten to bid for the Australian club rugby rights as well, which the ABC seems keen to offload, to make the station a real home for union.
Getting the game live on free-to-air commercial television, on a network that is a partner and not just out to make a quick buck, can only be good for Australian rugby.