More rugby should be on Aussie free to air TV

John Hanrahan Roar Rookie

113 Have your say

    It’s time for an Australian television channel to start showing French and Japanese rugby. With the enormous number of Aussie rugby and league stars playing in these competitions, interest in the games is growing daily.

    Add to the Aussies the number of other international rugby stars playing in the French competition and Kiwis playing in the Japanese sides and you have a rich spread of interest and potential.

    Wallabies, Super 14, All Blacks, Springboks, Irish, Argentinian, British and French stars are littered throughout the French competition.

    A match like the Brumbies clash with Toulon featuring Sonny Bill Williams and Jonny Wilkinson, though a one-off, is another example of what we’re missing.

    While rugby and other sporting fans can find information about their favourite footballers playing in these international leagues on websites, being able to watch the games is clearly what fans want.

    The hits on websites like this one and other sporting sites carrying Rugby runs in to the tens of millions.

    The addition of the matches from Europe and Japan would be just what the pay-tv operators, in particular, desperately want – more new subscribers.

    And into that mix should be thrown either replays of Sydney Premier Rugby’s ABC-TV Match of the Day or, at the very least, a one hour’s highlights package.

    The ABC telecast is on while 95 percent of rugby fans are either playing or attending hundreds of junior and senior games around the city. And ABC-TV news can’t even bring themselves to screen one moment’s highlights of the game in their 7pm. news sports round-up.

    The first step would be for Fox Sports to do a trade-off with some of the highlights from their matches for the ABC footage.

    Premier Rugby, featuring a host of Super 14 players, should then get multiple replays through the week at times that Rugby fans can actually watch it.

    The first objection that would be raised would be the language barrier. Obviously the French and Japanese games are broadcast in the native tongues of both countries.

    But these days, at the Seven Network and as other broadcasters have done, they’ve not bothered to spend the money to send their commentators to cover matches “live” but rather called them from the studios in Sydney.

    And with the right up-to-date information (players, after all, have numbers on their backs) good commentators and producers who do their homework could call them games easily.

    There might even be the facility to find an English speaking commentator in each country who could use one of the broadcast boxes to provide a “local” call, matched with the primary broadcaster’s vision.

    Adding to rugby fans’ frustrations is the overwhelming volume of tedious league games being broadcast, with their girly scrums, repetition and predictability. And with overwrought commentary that often far exceeds the activities on the field.

    Rugby fans, who want the big, explosive, dynamic action and unpredictability of a rugby match are becoming increasingly fed-up, particularly when they are aware of so many entertaining matches being played in Europe and Japan – but there is no opportunity at the moment to see them.

    If Fox Sports won’t do it, Seven or Ten could show some initiative and get the rights to these games and build a new audience, with new sponsors and a new revenue stream.

    However, it will take a combination of a television executive with some initiative and vision and a rugby fan base to make some “noise” by contacting the television stations and asking for these games.

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (113)

    • August 5th 2009 @ 6:37am
      Michael C said | August 5th 2009 @ 6:37am | ! Report


      There’d be more interest in the HAL going on FTA. Let alone some overseas Rugby League being broadcast solely into Sydney and Brisbane.

      But – like everything, make the advertisers and the networks interested enough in the business case and make it happen.

      • August 5th 2009 @ 12:16pm
        The Link said | August 5th 2009 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        MC, already happening re OS RL, English Super League is on Sunday afternoons on Ch9 2-4.

        • August 5th 2009 @ 7:44pm
          The Answer said | August 5th 2009 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

          And I believe as many people watch that delayed replay of the English Super League than they do the Swans live!

          Gee rugby league is struggling!

    • August 5th 2009 @ 8:10am
      macavity said | August 5th 2009 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      I LOLed.

    • August 5th 2009 @ 9:22am
      Nick said | August 5th 2009 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Mate Japanese rugby is barely shown on Japanese TV, the odds on it ever coming to Australian TV is naught.
      And Sentanta does show Heineken Cup and Challenge Cup Games…

    • August 5th 2009 @ 9:53am
      Yikes said | August 5th 2009 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Well, French games do have English commentary already.

      In addition, I cannot see why Foxtel can’t license The Rugby Channel from NZ. What cost would there be for Fox? Virtually none. Just add another channel. The programming is already being done!

      • August 5th 2009 @ 12:33pm
        The Link said | August 5th 2009 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        So Sky’s fee would be ‘vurtually’ nothing? I seriously doubt it.

        • August 5th 2009 @ 5:03pm
          Yikes said | August 5th 2009 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

          Isn’t it and Foxtel owned by the same company? Or is that the UK Sky?

        • August 5th 2009 @ 5:07pm
          Yikes said | August 5th 2009 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

          I’ve looked into it and News Corp owns 25% of Foxtel and 44% of SKY NZ.

          So, Link I think a deal could be pretty easily done.

    • August 5th 2009 @ 10:14am
      sheek said | August 5th 2009 @ 10:14am | ! Report

      The problem here is simple. Not enough Australians like rugby union.

      For Australia to have more rugby union shown, they would have to turn the world upside down. Start winning everything, & play attractive rugby consistently. Bring in the fans in their droves. Then maybe…..

      For a dedicated RU channel in Australia, it would have to be funded by the ARU & vested interests themselves. And they don’t have the money.

    • August 5th 2009 @ 11:49am
      Simmo said | August 5th 2009 @ 11:49am | ! Report

      Don’t we all want more of our favourite footy code on the telly?

    , , , , , , , ,