Seven’s AFL exclusivity a boon for the NRL and co

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    Can the NRL capitalise on AFL's Free-to-Air arrangements?

    With Channel Ten pulling out of negotiations with Channel Seven over buying some of its free-to-air AFL matches, and Channel Nine seemingly unable or unwilling to step in, the AFL will be on one free-to-air network come 2012, simplifying things for fans and opening the door for rival codes.

    For the NRL, it leaves a network that desperately needs to fill the AFL void with some premium Australian sporting content, led by a CEO – Lachlan Murdoch – who is not only a league fan but comes from a family that has heavily invested in the code, needing to outbid current free-to-air hosts, who have final bidding rights.

    The ingredients are there for a mega-deal that can get close to the billion-dollar mark first broken by the AFL; certainly with the potential to exceed the $800 million mark bandied about in the media.

    The NRL has some key selling points to take to potential broadcasters.

    In the State of Origin series (three guaranteed ratings hits), Indigenous All Stars and other representative fixtures, it has more to offer than a home and away season with finals.

    It has its Monday night football timeslot, which, given the AFL’s hesitancy to commit to the night, stands alone as the only sporting fixture on the day and could be one the fixtures to move across to free-to-air.

    Meanwhile, the possibility of future expansion keeps the door open to the likes of Perth, Adelaide, Central Coast and more teams in Queensland.

    But it’s the number of contenders for the NRL rights that would suggest it could push the predicted mark.

    Current hosts, Channel Nine, cannot afford to lose its prime Australian sporting content, particularly at this critical juncture for the network as it struggles to match Channel 10 and Seven in the ratings.

    Over at Channel 10, Murdoch and his cohorts may be sweeping through the place and cutting out significant chunks off its budget, but they too need premium sporting content if they are to truly connect with the younger audience they seem to be targeting.

    ONE remains home to heavy sporting content, despite the recent makeover, and one cannot have failed to miss the increased NRL content this year.

    The NRL represents a guaranteed ratings hit, particularly when State of Origin is thrown in the mix. While the AFL has a much greater national representation and can command more attention across the five major cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide), the NRL’s great strength lies in the big numbers it can attract in New South Wales and Queensland – two of three most populous states.

    That will count for a lot when Nine and 10 weigh-up their bids.

    And, ultimately, the fact that both have been left without any AFL frees them up for both timeslots and budget allocations to go to war for the NRL.

    Meanwhile, Foxtel will be heavily involved in the negotiations to ensure it doesn’t lose too much of its NRL content. Rugby league content accounted for 77 of the top 100 programs on the pay television provider – a fact the NRL will leverage in the bidding process.

    Given those strong numbers, Foxtel won’t want to lose out entirely in the bidding, even if it faces a reduced number of exclusive games given the greater interest from free-to-air.

    Given it will have heavy AFL content on the soon-to-be launched dedicated AFL channel, retaining some NRL will give the pay-TV provider the national appeal and selling point it needs to reach as many homes as it can.

    And remember, Channel Seven won’t rule out an NRL bid.

    Even though it has exclusive free-to-air AFL commitments and has stated it is still keen to retain V8 Supercars (like the NRL, up for grabs from 2013 on), one fancies they could be throwing their hat in the ring to drive up the asking price for their rivals to pay.

    This is all good news for the NRL and the likes of V8 Supercars. The AFL’s billion-dollar television has, in fact, opened the landscape up nicely – simplifying things, somewhat.

    Whether Channel 10 and Nine divvy up rugby league between them remains to be seen. But there is now room to move and negotiate – and two networks, left out of the AFL’s deal, can not only battle for the NRL rights, there could be more room for V8 Supercars and co to get more breathing room and their own greater slice of the pie, without the need to resort to secondary digital channels.

    With the digital revolution continuing unabated and digital channels’ ratings and reach increasing by the week, there could be a lot more wiggle room for sporting codes.

    Dare we mention the likes of Super Rugby, A-League, Socceroos qualifiers and the like as options for free-to-air commercial networks now? Foxtel’s hold on them and the concerns regarding how they’d rate on free-to-air would suggest not.

    But things seem a lot less cluttered for all codes. And they seem to be shaping up nicely for the NRL, thanks to the AFL – funnily enough.

    Follow Adrian on twitter @AdrianMusolino

    Adrian Musolino
    Adrian Musolino

    Adrian Musolino is editor of V8X Magazine, and has written as an expert on The Roar since 2008, cementing himself as a key writer who can see the big picture in sport. He freelances on other forms of motorsport, football, cycling and more.

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    The Crowd Says (190)

    • July 1st 2011 @ 2:40am
      Fake ex-AFL fan said | July 1st 2011 @ 2:40am | ! Report

      Seven can’t bid for the NRL now because of their financial & programming commitment to the AFL and Nine knows it. Furthermore, Ten’s owners don’t want to compete with Foxtel and Nine knows this too. So the overall competitive balance has swung somewhat from the seller (NRL) to the buyer (FTA Networks).

      I know this isn’t what League fans want to hear and there’s no doubt the NRL will still get a significant increase in broadcast revenues, I just think they might need to dampen down expectations a bit.

      • July 1st 2011 @ 6:49am
        Boomshanka said | July 1st 2011 @ 6:49am | ! Report

        Some commitment by Channel Seven to the AFL.

        Tonight’s Friday AFL night game is being shown at 11.30pm into the big markets of Sydney and Brisbane. If one checks out the TV guide for Regionals (ie Tamworth) the AFL won’t start there until 4am.

        How and why they paid big dollars for a regional sport that they have zero commitment to show into 55% of where the populous lives shows just how dodgy the whole TV sports rights process is.

        • Roar Guru

          July 1st 2011 @ 8:38am
          Redb said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:38am | ! Report

          I think we all know what the ‘regional’ game is compared to the AFL according to the TV networks. 55% also assumes they are all RL fanatics which they are not.

          The AFL deal for next year will see the game broadcast on 7mate at game start next year into NSW/QLD, not 11:30 or 4am.

          • July 1st 2011 @ 8:44am
            adam said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:44am | ! Report

            I’m pretty certain that 7mate is showing the bulldogs and melbourne game tonight in Brisbane at a reasonable time. I think I saw ads for it earlier in the week but they might not be reflecting that in their TV guide.

            • Roar Guru

              July 1st 2011 @ 8:46am
              Redb said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:46am | ! Report

              Might have started earlier, that’s great for AFL fans in NSW/QLD. Many would have watched for years on the unmetered mainevent channel on Foxtel.

            • July 1st 2011 @ 9:04am
              Boomshanka said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:04am | ! Report

              The TV guide was changed yesterday to reflect the lack of effort, foresight or commitment to delisting the AFL off the anti siphoning list. Either Seven couldn’t be bothered or Senator Conroy was too busy.

              Brisbane and Sydney appear to get the game @ 11.30pm with regionals about 4am. similar to getting the NRL into Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

            • July 1st 2011 @ 9:11am
              Brett McKay said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:11am | ! Report

              same in Canberra too, Adam. 7Mate’s been showing the Fri night game at either 7:30 or 8:30 for most of the season I think.

              Though having just checked the TV Guide for tonight, I see Muprhy has stepped in and the game’s not on 7Mate at all, and is on the main channel from 4am as Boomshanka has mentioned above…

              • July 1st 2011 @ 9:23am
                Boomshanka said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                So Channel Seven allegedly pay top dollar for a sport and then only weeks later cause harm to the sport, its fans and advertisers by not showing it to 55% of the Australian public.

                Something rotten is going on here.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 9:54am
                Brett McKay said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:54am | ! Report

                playing devil’s advocate for just a sec, Booma, I wonder if their Wimbledon coverage on the main and 7Two channels play a part in this move – that perhaps they’re wanting to provide at least one non-sport option tonight (though I can’t for the life me think why!!)

              • July 1st 2011 @ 10:10am
                Boomshanka said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:10am | ! Report

                Earlier this week the TV guide had Wimbledon on the primary channel for NSW and QLD with the AFL starting @ 7.30pm on 7mate. No devils advocate required here – just the facts.

                Interestingly Channel Nine last year did a similar thing with the rugby league, playing Wimbledon ahead of the NRL and I can remember we lost a couple of games as they run out of time to show the two Friday night fixtures.

                Nine then went on to cancel Wimbledon;

                “Unfortunately, it (Wimbledon) hasn’t rated well in recent years and we think that money is now better invested on other sporting properties,” Melbourne station boss Jeff Browne told the Herald Sun.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 10:42am
                EveryDayMan said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:42am | ! Report

                Ch 7 have been advertising that they’ll show the Dogs v Dees clash on 7mate all week up here in Brisbane.

                But after seeing all this, just checked the TV Guide and its been wiped so they can show Cheaper By The Dozen 2, a kids movie. And what’s on 7two? Re-runs of Are You Being Served for the ten-thousandth time.

                A disgrace filled with comtempt and not happy at all as a Dees fan. Thinking of sending off an email. Although I doubt it will change anything.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 11:38am
                Boomshanka said | July 1st 2011 @ 11:38am | ! Report


                The revised anti siphoning list can be found here

                Note: the AFL and Seven had gained an exemption until round 14 (last weeks round). Senator Conroy had hoped to push through legislation changes by then, but this has not occurred.

                They’ve known about it for some time now yet nothing was done or even attempted. Interesting to note that Channel Seven didn’t push the issue on behalf of its so called “commitment”.

                Suggest you write to or

          • July 1st 2011 @ 8:46am
            Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:46am | ! Report

            If that is the case,the huge numbers regionals secure not only for SOO and NRL ,dilutes your argument greatly.The strength of rugby league is in regional NSW and queensland,that is a fact,and has been the
            backbone in terms of recruitment for yonks.Hells ,bells,the code achieved 8,500 paying speccies for a city country clash in Albury(hardly a rl stronghold0 ,plus another 1,500 freebies).Perhaps showing there is demand for rl in some AFL regional dominated areas

            The numbers for SOO ,only emphasises the regional demand.

            And we currently have no idea of the mix of Tv stations or the mix of rugby league offerings available to each.Which is mouth watering.

            • Roar Guru

              July 1st 2011 @ 8:52am
              Redb said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:52am | ! Report

              There is no doubt RL Origin acheives huge ratings in NSW/QLD, but the NRL comp does not get anywhere near the same level. So pretty much everyone watches Origin which might equal 55%.

              Origin is a stand alone sporting event which should attract big dollars, but at the end of the day its 3 games for the year compared to the bulk product of NRL’s 190 odd games which get nowhere near the TV ratigns of Origin and the Tv Execs kinda know this.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 9:10am
                Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:10am | ! Report

                So in effect your point on regionals not being strong for rugby league is thus invalid.I stated the regional are also strong for NRL matches.Pro rata(population wise) it is fair to say,the bush is probably stronger than the 2 cap cities ,as to tv ratings,and interest.

                The TV execs are well aware of the regional and 2 cap city ratings and pay Tv ratings for rugby league,(exclusive of SOO).To suggest otherwise is out of kilter with reality.Look at friday nights,look at Super saturday for Foxtel and more so monday evening.And with the certainty of expansion and the strong chance of a 5 city FTA, it looks even better.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 9:16am
                Boomshanka said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:16am | ! Report

                And as we’ve said countless times before AFL currently enjoys a complete monopoly into Melbourne despite interest down here. Take that monopoly away – how will they fair?

                In fact tonight’s AFL game will actually be a good litmus test for rugby leagues following in Melbourne.

                Last time the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne played on a friday night it had to go head to head with the rugby league test on Channel Nine The AFL’s ratings that night was 340k in Melbourne and the rugby league game got 257k (Melbourne).

                Lets see how it gets on with no competition. ie where did those 257k come from?

              • Roar Guru

                July 1st 2011 @ 9:49am
                Redb said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:49am | ! Report

                CC, Where did I say that NSW/QLD regionals were not strong for RL?

                BS, that’s just dumb.

                The 340K ave for the AFL game b/w two lwo drawing teams is about average. Comparing this season to last is pointless it will depend on the contest if neutrals are drawn into watch the game. This game (tonight) looked ordinary 6 weeks ago, it now looks of some interest. I would be surprised it it rates over 400K, still on delay which is very much on the nose in Melbourne. That changes next year. 🙂

                re AFL v RL test (opening of new stadium), the AFL broadcast started at 8;30pm on one hour delay and went until 11:30pm, the RL test started live at 7:30 and was off by 9:30pm. So your comparing an ratings average of a 3 hr broadcast to a 2 hr broadcast that over lapped for 1 hr.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 7:25pm
                mick h said | July 1st 2011 @ 7:25pm | ! Report


                if rugby league achieve 900 m to 1 billion( not including sky nz currently 12 million per year) and i believe they will by

                9 : keep the three current games
                10 : monday night football and test matches
                7: state of origin the offer by seven will be too good to refuse
                fox super saturday 3 games
                2 new teams to enter comp in 2014 and 2015
                i believe splitting the rights will maximise the return

            • July 1st 2011 @ 11:32am
              me, I like football said | July 1st 2011 @ 11:32am | ! Report

              Populations outside the Sydney and Brisbane TV markets represent <40% of NSW and Qld total populatin, with even less in TV ad revenue. More of a bonus than it's strength.

        • July 1st 2011 @ 12:06pm
          GoGWS said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

          or if you have Foxtel its live on the main event channel 518…. live AFL every Friday night…

      • July 1st 2011 @ 7:49am
        Aka said | July 1st 2011 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        What the TV stations have shown with AFL rights though is that even if they don’t want the rights, they don’t want their competitiors getting it cheaply.

        • July 1st 2011 @ 7:51am
          Fake ex-AFL fan said | July 1st 2011 @ 7:51am | ! Report

          True enough Aka – but for a ‘dummy’ bid to be successful, it has to be taken at least somewhat seriously by the other rival bidders. I don’t think Channel 9 will take any such bid by 7 seriously.

          • July 1st 2011 @ 10:27am
            Aka said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:27am | ! Report

            You still have to beat the ‘dummy’ bid to get the rights. Although you’re original comment is valid to the point that someone that is worried that they might end up with the rights they will only push so hard to keep the competition honest. But they are still going to push to the point that the rights don’t go for a bargain price.

        • July 1st 2011 @ 10:01am
          Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          I will spell it out You downplayed the significance of the regionals(not the first time) IN NSW and Qld,by “also assume they are all rl fanatics “.Who assumes that”?.My point was simply to state the strength of the game is in those areas,and indeed proportionately more so than the 2 cap cities. So it is also BS to suggest that anyone suggested they are all rl fanatics.Just as it is also BS by some to suggest Albury residents are all AFL fanatics.

          Your last comments obviously not in response to my comments.However I will say the FTA ratings for Brisbane and Sydney on friday evenings for NRL,the decent though delayed Tv ratings for sundays which give 9 a good lead in to its news and 60 minutes,provide ch9 excellent ratings /advtg content.

          The Pay TV content for rl is unarguable.I suggest the financial backbone of Foxtel has been having rugby league ,since the SL war.The TV ratings show it,the subscriptions show it.In fact by virtue of the subscriber income from rl viewers,probably assisted in the financials for the last AFL deal.IOW a large subscriber base,supporitng a smaller subscriber base.

      • July 1st 2011 @ 8:02am
        Paul J said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        “Seven can’t bid for the NRL now because of their financial & programming commitment…”


        “Ten’s owners don’t want to compete with Foxtel and Nine knows this…”


        “NRL will still get a significant increase in broadcast revenues, I just think they might need to dampen down expectations…”


        • July 1st 2011 @ 9:58am
          JamesP said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          • July 1st 2011 @ 1:25pm
            st penguin said | July 1st 2011 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

            I’m not sure you posted the right link! It doesn’t cover the first two points at all.

            Interesting article though. In AFL, Seven found itself bidding against Foxtel. I reckon the same situation will develop between Nine and Foxtel.

            • July 1st 2011 @ 2:56pm
              JamesP said | July 1st 2011 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

              Yes it does. Read it again.

              Here is a paragraph:

              “This scenario could be repeated with the NRL – Foxtel certainly wants to show all games live – but it is less likely. Seven already had four AFL games per week to show; it doesn’t have the room to do a deal for more than one game per round. Meanwhile, Ten has made it clear to a nervous equity market it won’t overpay for sports rights.”

              Bottom Line: Seven has 4 games and a massive bill so it wont be bidding – unelss it does a swap for a game with nine. Very Unlikely. Ten would love some content – if the price was right. Its not going to pay over and above market value. it didnt with the AFL. Who gives a rats if Lachlan Murdoch or David Lecklie or by best friends grandma loves league. Kerry Packer loved league so much he consistently underpaid and drove the price up high for seven and 10 last time around. They didn’t have to match it. They did

              As Tens head of sport David Barham put it on radio the other day, his gut feel is that Seven will retain sole FTA rights of the AFL, as will Nine with the NRL. Whether the NRL gets to a billion or not depends on how much extra Foxtel is prepared to pay.

      • July 1st 2011 @ 10:31am
        Willy said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:31am | ! Report

        Brett is right.

        It’s easy for us to forget that there is demand for TV outside sport, and that certain shows make a lot of money for the networks, even without Earth-shattering ratings (through product placement sales, international syndication etc).

        The FTA networks also have to adhere to certain regulations around content, which limit the amount of sport they can show.

    • July 1st 2011 @ 5:06am
      corey said | July 1st 2011 @ 5:06am | ! Report

      I honestly believe that the NRL should sell its games separately, like they do in the US, this would get more revenue and all FTA channels live sports and would also drive the marketing up (look at the NFL and NBA). Also, you could sell to the highest FTA bidder the State of Origin rights separately. The AFL was smart in the previous deal because they took a strategy that the NFL used and they got a great deal. Now the NRL needs to smartened up.

      I read an article recently (when I say recently I mean within the last year) about American and Western TV that states pretty much that no commercial television channel can survive without live sport. Now there is only V8 and the NRL left. So the seller does, and always has, the driver seat. The article even said a station is willing to make a loss on that time slot because they know they will pick it up elsewhere (other tv shows they advertised during the game).

      • July 1st 2011 @ 7:50am
        Fake ex-AFL fan said | July 1st 2011 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        The seller is only in the drivers seat if there is more than one realistic potential buyer.

        • July 1st 2011 @ 8:39am
          Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          Umm!! Well there actually IS, at least two definite drivers ch9 and Foxtel,and two “relief”drivers in the disguise of ch7 Leckie who is after SOO,and ch10,who has now two NRL devoted programs on HD
          The claim there is but one potential buyer is arrant nonsense,else those very same oulets, choose to ignore the biggest and 3rd biggest Australian market..
          They in fact are all potential buyers ,as anyone who attends an auction with either desperation or intent to bid.

          • July 1st 2011 @ 10:35am
            Willy said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            You have to remember the many and varied conflicts of interest though Crosscoder.

            Foxtel is owned by Channel Nine. And Telstra. So each of those parties are not going to bid themselves up.

            And the NRL is half owned by the same mob who own a chunk of Foxtel. So they are not going to want to pay over the odds…

            It’s hard not to think that all the parties will get together and decide what they want to pay for TV rights, then present it to the NRL as a fait accompli…

            That’s the problem for the NRL.

            For what’s it worth, I think the Fox/Nine/Telstra consortium will present a reasonable but not spectacular package, and this will be accepted. Think between $800 million and $1 billion.

            • July 1st 2011 @ 11:28am
              Brett McKay said | July 1st 2011 @ 11:28am | ! Report

              Willy, just need to correct you on something here:

              Foxtel is owned by Telstra (50%), News Ltd (25%) and Conslidated Media Holdings (25%), which is James Packer, yes, but CMH no longer own Nine.

              Nine Entertainment Co. is wholly owned by CVC now, CMH no longer have any shares.

              Fox Sports is owned by Premier Media Group, which in turn a joint venture between News and CMH.

              CMH also owns a 9% stake in Ten.

              Yes, it’s all rather circular…

              • July 1st 2011 @ 12:18pm
                Willy said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

                Thanks for the correction Brett.

                I really do think that the myriad circular interests should be considered in any discussion of the NRL TV rights deal. It seems to me that there are many and various conflicts of interest, and it’s hard to know how these will play out.

                Interesting times!

              • July 1st 2011 @ 1:04pm
                Brett McKay said | July 1st 2011 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                Willy, not just for the NRL, but all sports, when you think about it and then add to the circular references that a good chunk of CMH is owned by one Kerry Stokes, who of course is the main man of the new Seven West company.

                So people who owns bits of Ten also own bits of Fox Sports, whose other owners account for Seven and Telstra, who themselves own a chunk of Fox. Still following?!? Nine is possibly the only ones removed – for the moment!!

                So at any given time, when any set of sports broadcasting rights are up for grabs, four or five of the richest blokes in the country meet in a car park somewhere and nut it out between themselves while somehow letting the sports believe they’re pulling the strings in negotiations!!

            • July 1st 2011 @ 12:35pm
              Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

              Of course there are overlaps/conflicts of interest.But the important thing to remember the next time,News Lts will not be a 50% partner in the new I.C setup.You cannot use the part ownership view to support your argument,as it will no longer exist.
              Sugesting they will not be able to wield the influence they once did,being on both sides of the negogiating table.
              Each organisation ch9/ch7/ch10 and Foxtel are all in place to secure profits to each’s organisation,that is the first ,second third daylight last. ch9 have no ties whatsoever with ch7 nor 10.It is fair to say 9 and 7 are almost mortal enemies,and ch10 did not endear themselves to 7,by poaching one of their top execs.

              channel 9 is desperate to retain the rights,ch 10 has an empty popular local sporting basket ATM and is cutting back on staff to run on a lean mean profitable operation,and has not bid on the AFL.
              Channel 10 have stated they would be interested in the NRL,but would not go beyond the pale.Ch7 has openly stated they want a slice of the rl pie.SOO in particular.

              That is not correct,because the organisation appointed to advise the Tv organisations Lek,has been to each to provide various scenarios.
              The other point as ch9 is desperate for that type of content (and Gyngell has not held back),they will at least put in a decent bid .Why? Because they have first and last rights and lose traction if their bid is beaten by 20%.
              if you believe the FTA stations are going to collude (get together) ,knowing full well that Tv ratings and the competitive nature that is involved with them,then good luck.I cite the court case with Visy and others being involved and being fined for price fixing.If there is a sniff of price collusion,then its lawyers at 50 paces.

              There is a world of a difference between FTA and Pay.The latters major income derives from subscribers.Should fro example ch10 pay more for a monday night game,and foxtel miss out,their offerings are watered down,making rl subscriptions less enticing.Do a similar thing with Super saturday and its goodnight to him.

              If the code can garnish $800m ,there will as stated be an uprising,and the community will have Gallop’s guts for garters..It defies the state of the game as to ratings.Even News business pundits have been est $1b

              • July 1st 2011 @ 12:43pm
                Willy said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                Yep – there really are a heap of issues to consider here.

                I’m not convinced that the Independent Commission will actually be “independent” though. The horse trading on the members of the commission show that there are political appointments being made.

                Like I said – interesting times.

    • July 1st 2011 @ 7:00am
      Cman said | July 1st 2011 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      1.3 billion-dollar television here we come!

    • July 1st 2011 @ 7:07am
      Nick the second said | July 1st 2011 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      @fake AFL fan, way to interpret the information you only want to hear. Though the AFL fans might not like to hear it 😉

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • July 1st 2011 @ 7:49am
        Fake ex-AFL fan said | July 1st 2011 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        Nick – I fully expect that to be the response from league fans. I have no wish for the NRL to get shafted again by channel 9, I’m just trying to bring a little realism to the discussion. The key question is whether or not channel 7 will be a serious bidder for the rights. If not, and I really can’t see how they can be given the bucket load of cash they’ve just committed to the AFL, then the competitive tension the NRL will be trying to create just won’t be there. Perhaps if they sell SOO separately channel 10 might be tempted to have a serious crack at it which will work in the NRL’s favour but I just can’t see how anyone else apart from 9 is a serious bidder for the whole rights package.

      • July 1st 2011 @ 8:53am
        Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        We have accepted it and got on with life,and spend little time sniping away in AFL threads.The smell of unease keeps wafting from that direction,judging by a few of the comments by that code’s supporters here.
        The thought of ch9/10 with FTA rl,ch7 with SOo and Foxtel actually paying what the code is worth,may be too much to bear for some.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 1st 2011 @ 9:40am
          Brendan said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          Maybe not fear Cman because the AFL fans are sitting at the top of the sporting landscape in AU. Although they like to sit up there and deride the potential growth which they themselves have seen in their code.
          One side of me thinks that we should listen and learn as they are at the top in terms of crowds & TV revenue . The other side says that they don’t really want to see anyone else succeed and their ‘advice’ is designed to mislead…

          Redb, thoughts? 🙂

          • July 1st 2011 @ 9:49am
            Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:49am | ! Report

            They can sit wherever they choose the Himalayas,an ice floe,Kilimanjaro, to which we can admire and aspire.However there are many other mountains to be climbed,that is what we should aim for.

          • Roar Guru

            July 1st 2011 @ 9:56am
            Redb said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:56am | ! Report

            As i said above, most AFL fans were not even aware of the TV deal last time, it got more publicity this time. It became a forum debate point becuase NRL fans felt (as told by TV rights guru Roy Masters) the AFL was over paid and its been going on ever since.

            So when a poster starts off with AFL is a regional game, does not deserve, blah blah, it does have the potential to get side tracked.

            $1.25B need I say more. Thoughts?

            • July 1st 2011 @ 10:21am
              Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:21am | ! Report

              Not aware of the deal last time LOL,$780m plastered in the Herald Sun,Telegraph,ch7 ,and SMH.

              I am interested where did a poster suggest AFL was a regional game.Are you sure? I would have thought the suggestion was the rugby league is more a regional game,which shoul not be overlooked in the next TV deal.
              This thread is about current NRl expectations,not about Roy Masters stuffing up on the last AFL one.The AFL snipers,who sniff around rl threads ,looking for the slightest mention of the three letter AFL,come in like a commando raid in Kabul.
              Interesting the very first thread response came from an AFL fan.Was he on point duty ,with Delta platoon?.

              • Roar Guru

                July 1st 2011 @ 10:29am
                Redb said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:29am | ! Report

                If they were they wouldn’t have cared.

                Read the 2nd post.

                haha Masters 🙂

                The article is titled AFL exclusivity…. might explain it.

                Plenty of snipers in all corps.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 1st 2011 @ 10:35am
              Brendan said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:35am | ! Report

              It’s interesting is all Redb. The afl have done a wonderful job of engaging fans in all formats, I would say that the membership drive that was started in the early 80’s has really fed in to other avenues such as the TV rights.

              Something the NRL is now focusing on is the memberships; hopefully over the coming years we can get to levels closer to where the afl is (stadium consolidation will be key here).

              AU is quite different to other markets globally for sporting TV content as we have two dominant football codes and a lack of channels to bid on it, as opposed to only one core ‘football’ code(EPL, NFL etc) and plenty of bidding channels to distribute it.

              If AU wasn’t such a sports mad country we probably wouldn’t be able to support two codes so significantly through TV rights.

              • Roar Guru

                July 1st 2011 @ 10:39am
                Redb said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                Brendan, the replies aren’t working properly. But I agree we are sports mad.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 11:46am
                Jaceman said | July 1st 2011 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                Channel Nine does not part own Foxtel. When packer left Nine, so did the Foxtel part share. Stokes and Packer own Cons media which part own Foxtel/Fox Sports.

                Ten will pretend to bid for NRL to force Nine to the negotiating table but are not serious.

                Cross coder – had the misfortune to watch Nine Today show today – NRL first sports news item at 6am and jason Akermanis is the AFL commentator – akin to either Ryan Tandy, John Elias, Sam Ayoub, John Hopoate, Willy Mason, Jake Friend, Greg Bird or SBW being the NRL commentator on Seven…BTW the SMH wrote an article about the AFL draft the other day but failed to mention it was to be held in Western Sydney which was the big announcement this week.

                AFL doesnt schedule blockbusters on Friday night so that all teams get a chance of national exposure for their sponsors for a big audience. NRL has used their schedule to maximise their audience so there is no upside…


              • July 1st 2011 @ 12:50pm
                oikee said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                Jaceman, what are you babbling about. Look, the NRL had to grow its numbers while presenting live games on Friday nites, over time it has done this, not showing AFL games on Friday nites in NRL markets is nothing more than common sense, same as showing Storm in Melbourne. Yet Melbourne have been one of the top teams for on 10 years.
                This was channel 9 hoarding nothing less.
                And Redb keeps going on about having more content for one AFL game, true but the NRL has 2 games to advertise on Friday nites from 2 states, so you work out that one , to me it tells me that i get a chance to advertise on a Friday nite to a large audience.
                Look, Gallop and rugby league has to wake up and realise we can sell 50% more product than AFL, we can advertise more states by adding teams to Perth and the like, we can grow crowds and fans by placing teams in the right areas, plus we can continue to grow the junior comp and promote this to stations as well, to add more time slots.

                The more you show the junior comps, the quicker you grow juniors, the more money sunk back into the junior game.This is where the NRL has a huge advantage over other comps, the Toyota cup, hey look, their is Toyota again, fancy that. 🙂

              • July 1st 2011 @ 4:41pm
                Jaceman said | July 1st 2011 @ 4:41pm | ! Report


                You misread what I said – you are babling. NRL maximises its audience pretty much on friday night – the AFL doesnt because it picks the game in November the year before. CC got the idea and you didnt amazing

              • July 1st 2011 @ 1:41pm
                Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

                You lost me in your first paragraph,and appear to be stating the obvious.I stated the NRL is cuuermtly 50% owned by News.that will not be the case in the next couple of months.

                In fact Jason Ajkermanis could leave those guys you mentioned for dead.He at times is outspoken,but is not the idiot the rl players you suggested happen to be on occasions.
                BTW I would be careful with the Bird situation,the case did not continue,and neither of us know the reality.As a Shark’s supporter there was a little more to it,than published,without going into it.
                OK my friend to rattle your NRL arguement

                These are the Friday night scheduls for ch9
                Rd 17 EEls V Broncos tonight.The Eels playing like busteds,the Broncos without the star players
                Panthers (who bring few to the screen) v Bulldogs struggling
                Monday night 3rd pick LOL Roosters v Raiders9Now if you look hard enough they are near the end)
                Rd 18
                Eels (again) aginst the West Tigers(good choice)
                Warriors(form NZ) hardly an east Coast ratings assister v Titans (and guess where the Titans are place LOL)
                Monday Knights v Cowboys good choice

                If that is supposedly maximising their audience,I will give mine to the cat.The NRL schedule is only 5 weeks in advance,yet stlll affected by SOO and bad performers.In fact ch9 and Foxtel have too much influence in deciding a,dn they get egg on their face at times.

                Rd 19
                Bulldogs v Eels both desperate and struggling but should draw a good audience
                Storm v Broncos good choice
                Monday Sharks v Dragons good choice,but lousy for spectators.

                The fact the FTA TV ratings for rl on a Friday night can fluctuate wildly ,is also proof that not all blockbusters are chosen weekly.
                Rest assured Jaceman the draft was mentioned in Sydney in the west and that Graeme Annesley the former NRL ref and now MIN of Sport is helping with it.He also attended a swans game a couple of weeks ago.There again there is publicity ,thart supposedly doesn’t exist.
                In fact it was also in the Australian,when they noted that getting Annesley to perform such a thing was akin to getting a Protestant to perform the Rosary.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 1:58pm
                Jaceman said | July 1st 2011 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

                My point was that the SMH seems to give AFL the shove until Friday when its broad 4 code coverage kicks in and The DT runs a football broadsheet. Coverage of various codes varies esp in their non favourite code state – thats all I was saying. Nine hiring malcontent Akermanis hardly does the AFL any favours – remember they set up fevola at the Brownlow…
                My comment on Nine and Foxtel was to another writer – not everything is about you CC

              • July 2nd 2011 @ 9:26am
                Crosscoder said | July 2nd 2011 @ 9:26am | ! Report

                I have been reading both papers for ages and that has not been my experience.If the SMH supposedly gives your code the shove,they are doing a very bad job of fact the readership of the SMH is supposedly a different demographic geared more towards ru and AFL ,than rl.However rl being the sport that it is in Sydney and the interest large or latent,makes it compulsory content.
                Have a look at the sunday papers also and draw further comaprsions ,the ratio is favourable toward your code.
                Whether it be Akermanis or Mick Gatto,the fact is 9 sees having AFL stories as a necessity.No one is twisting their arm.
                They set up Fevola????? So the guy is incapable of acting responsibly on occasions.How about the influence of the ch9 Melbourne AFL mafia as having some influence.The same guys that give rl a short shift on Friday evenings.

                When you address a post to me,and do not address your intended response to another poster,I am hardly Luigi the Uunbelievable,to ascertain whether, who is on first base ,or what is on second.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 2:00pm
                oikee said | July 1st 2011 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

                What are you talking about Monday nites, ? channel 9 does not show Monday nite games, do they.

              • July 2nd 2011 @ 4:36pm
                Queensland's game is rugby league said | July 2nd 2011 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                My condolences go out Mr Annersley for being stuck at an AwFuL match. I cannot think of a worse way to spend a night. I’d prefer to spend the night in a hospital.

            • July 1st 2011 @ 11:51am
              JamesP said | July 1st 2011 @ 11:51am | ! Report

              As Wookie said above – last time it was Kerry Packer. this time its?

              Why do those networks keep throwign money at us?

              Why does Toyota keep throwing money?

            • July 1st 2011 @ 2:00pm
              Ken said | July 1st 2011 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

    • July 1st 2011 @ 8:10am
      Boomshanka said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      With the introduction of multi-channeling for the free to air networks means Foxtel will have to cough up big to secure its top rating sports programs. The role of the internet is also a looming factor here.

      There is a possibility that Foxtel could end up with nothing. With no rugby league, it will struggle to secure subscriptions in all states. Remember it is the only option for semi reasonable coverage of rugby league in the so called AFL dominated states as well.

      As there is bugger all quality offering on subscription TV anyway, Foxtel could very well end up losing many more subscriptions from league followers as would ever hope to pick up from its recent AFL acquisition. Fundamentally sport drives up subscriptions. In summary it needs rugby league more than rugby league needs them.

      I know cross media ownership and the threat of a break away competition will complicate matters, but given the hopeless anti siphoning legislation this country is lumbered with, who knows what outcome is looming. Either way as Adrian alludes to it is a “boon” for Australia’s number one sport.

      • July 1st 2011 @ 12:44pm
        Ken said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        ‘There is a possibility that Foxtel could end up with nothing’

        I was considering that possibility too. Although I think it’s unlikely they will end up with absolutely nothing, if they only have 1-2 live games a week they would have to expect a mass dumping of subscriptions, especially in NSW and QLD. Sure, over the next few years they may pick them up on their new AFL contract. But that’s a very expensive way to end up in the same place, Ten’s decision to not bid for AFL (regardless of the complex ownership structures that Brett laid out above) has greatly turned Foxtel’s position around. With 2 FTA bidders, Foxtel will now have to work to ensure they have enough NRL content to keep their subscribers happy.

        If Foxtel don’t have a significant alotment of games, I’ll certainly drop my subscription. I enjoy having other channels but RL is then only reason I can justify the outlay.

        Gotta say though I’m not too worried if the number cracks a billion or not, or whether it beats the AFL or not – the exact numbers will have little to no effect on anything I can observe. I’m just happy to see that my fav sport is no longer going to be screwed around and short-changed – finally they can negotiate this stuff without their hands tied behind their back.

      • July 1st 2011 @ 12:57pm
        me, I like football said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

        Boomshanka, Aussie Rules is Australias #1 sport by far

        • July 1st 2011 @ 1:17pm
          oikee said | July 1st 2011 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

          Even Einstein would agree with me, how can it be the number 1 code if if is not number 1 in the number 1 state, and the number 3 state. Will never be as well, and you know this as fact. League in Sydney is nothing short of a living monster. Even in Brisbane it is a sleeping giant.

          • July 1st 2011 @ 1:28pm
            me, I like football said | July 1st 2011 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

            You are not serious, are you?

            • July 1st 2011 @ 2:04pm
              oikee said | July 1st 2011 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

              No i am Oikee.

              • July 2nd 2011 @ 10:21am
                TJ said | July 2nd 2011 @ 10:21am | ! Report

                Oikee / Booms – you guys are right – when will these AFL types learn??? The best substantiated fact is that NRL is the number 1 sport in the states that represent 55% of the population. This makes the NRL the number one game in the country.

                This is clearly a more compelling argument then any of the following facts:
                1) AFL generates far greater sponsorship revenue
                2) AFL generates a bigger TV rights deal
                3) AFL out-rates NRL on a per match basis (including foxtel, SOO regionals etc). NRL wins on accumulative TV audience when you total Toyota Cup, 26 rounds of NRL, finals and internationals – by about 2% – great statistical PR spin)
                4) 15 of the top16 football clubs by revenue are AFL
                5) AFL has far more attractive audience demographic profile for advertisers (I know I’m one of those advertisers – but call me one of those dimwits in a suit who knows nothing – it’s people like me who keep driving up the AFL TV revenue). The AFL has a far greater socio-demographic reach than the NRL
                6) Independent Roy Morgan research identifies a higher percentage of Australians watch the AFL on TV than NRL. From a larger sample than the OzTam boxes.
                7) ABS (Australian Bureau of Stats), which is government run, shows a higher number of players registered playing Aussie Rules (not inc AusKick) than Rugby League
                6) AFL has more members
                7) Per average AFL match attendance is significantly higher than the NRL
                -) Even in the digital space there are three times as many Supercoach entrants for AFL (358k) v NRL (114k) – which used to be 4 times as many in previous years. There are also 268k entrants on Dreamteam via the AFL website vs the 78k entrants on Dreamteam via the NRL website. Across both AFL Dreamteam and Supercoach there are 60k entrants from NSW and QLD.
                9) There are over 70 players from NSW and QLD in the AFL including players from Brisbane and Sydney.

                When will these AFL types learn???? 55%!!!!! How more evident does it need to be. I live on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, my wife is from the Hills District. Many of our friends in Sydney are expat AFL state people, foreigners from Britain (we lived there for eight years), expats Europeans at work, or simply just well educated white collar Sydney folk from the Hills District, North Shore or Eastern Suburbs, I know despite most of them never having been to a NRL match, never watching a NRL match on TV or even talking about the NRL, that their kids play Aussie Rules, Union or Soccer, deep down I know they all harbour this amazing passion for the NRL. That’s why the 55% fact (I imagine they are included in that 55%) is the most valid, important and relevant fact in this whole discussion.

              • July 2nd 2011 @ 12:27pm
                oikee said | July 2nd 2011 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

                All sounds great, but you still did not address the fact rugby league is our country biggest game in our major city, and 3rd largest city.

                With a new team added to Perth, with wider free to air coverage our game has alot of scoop to pull those figures back, now if i was a betting man, i know where my money would be if i wanted promotion from Perth to the eastern states. That is one for you, you say your a salemen, then get on a sure thing.

                We dont know where our tv deal is at the moment, but as a free to air game competing against the afl juggernaught, i think if i was a salesman, i would do a Toyota, have my foot in both camps.

              • July 2nd 2011 @ 12:39pm
                GrecoRoman said | July 2nd 2011 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

                Oikee, I know you are up in Brisbane and I wouldn’t wish to counter your points in relation to that city, but down here in Sydney the sporting landscape and participation is a lot more fractured. There are large parts of the city where Rugby League has little participation or interest. I think that the other 4 capitals of the mainland states are fairly monocultural when it comes to sport – AFL: Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne – NRL: Brisbane. However, in Sydney it’s just not the case. It’s very RL-centric where I live in the Western Suburbs though.

    • July 1st 2011 @ 8:22am
      Willy said | July 1st 2011 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Interesting to hear Roy Masters on the radio the other day suggesting that Foxtel were getting ready to play hardball with the NRL on TV negotiations.

      It’s an interesting situation.

      Given their status as the sole Pay TV provider in Australia (and considering that they are owned by Telstra, Channel Nine and News Limited – who all have varying conflicts of interest), it seems they might be in a position to force the NRL into a compromising position.

      But, given the NRL’s strong role in driving content on the Fox Sports channels, they would seem to have some bargaining chips as well.

      It could all come down to whether the NRL is prepared to play a dangerous game of brinkmanship… Are they prepared to call Foxtel’s bluff and walk away – risking a massive reduction in TV revenue – as a way of forcing Foxtel’s hand?

      Either way, it’ll be a very tough negotiation for the NRL (and a baptism of fire for the Independent Commission).

      • July 1st 2011 @ 9:18am
        Crosscoder said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        Trouble is Roy stuffed up on the AFL predictions,and is hardly a News confidant.Time will tell though.
        And Gallop stating a few weeks back that Foxtel had better not take rugby league for granted.His strongest and almost anti News statement he has come up with in years.
        Let Foxtel lose monday evenings and let FTA get it.Let Foxtel lose super staurday(they call it their gem)and watch the churning rate and substantial subscription losses.As C Eastwood would say to Foxtel”Go ahead and make my day”.
        In fact Foxtel getting screwed would indeed make more than a few rl supporters’ day.

      • July 1st 2011 @ 9:24am
        JVGO said | July 1st 2011 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        The NRL should be prepared to deal with FTA first and separately, dividing all the offerings, Friday, Monday, etc, SOO, other rep football, NZ rights and add internet etc. They should be able to achieve more than the anaemic deal they have at the moment from all that.

        • July 1st 2011 @ 10:28am
          Willy said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          Not sure it’s that easy JVGO.

          Fox has a lot more cash than FTA, and the ability to include more sports coverage in their schedules (the FTA networks need to work around other programming, including abiding by regulations around locally produced drama etc).

          Unfortunately, no matter what way you look at it, Foxtel will form a crucial part of the NRL TV rights deal.

          And they’re holding some aces (not least of which is they own half the NRL so have a vested interest on both sides of the table).

          It really is a unique and interesting negotiation.

          I still reckon the NRL will get it’s $1 billion deal though. Which will be a huge bonus for the game.

          • July 1st 2011 @ 10:51am
            JVGO said | July 1st 2011 @ 10:51am | ! Report

            The point was (for some reason removed by the mods) that the position for the NRL could be pretty much status quo even without Foxtel, so the NRL can threaten FOX with no NRL at all. They could survive a season or two without being any worse off than they are now while Fox subscriptions and profits would wither massively.

            • July 1st 2011 @ 12:22pm
              Willy said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              Yeah – that’s a good point.

              What would the removal of a (serious) bidder from the market do to the negotiations though?

              And would Foxtel also be able to weather a few years of reduced subscriptions given they wouldn’t be spending hundreds of millions on the NRL?

              (Personally, I think losing the NRL would be a serious, but not disasterous, loss for Foxtel. There would be many, many people like me who have Fox Sports for the NRL… as well as Super and Test Rugby, Premier League, Horse Racing, AFL, International football… etc etc etc… And you’d imagine Fox could afford to slash the subscription fees if they don’t have to pay for NRL rights…)

              • July 1st 2011 @ 12:32pm
                JVGO said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

                77 of the top 100 programs. More than 3/4’s. How many subs is that worth? Who knows? Do they want to find out? What is the deal worth now? 350 million or something. The could hopefully get over 400 mil without Foxtel.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 12:38pm
                Willy said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

                Take your point JVGO, but quoting that statistic as proof that huge numbers will desert Foxtel without the NRL assumes that those viewers pay their subscriptions for the NRL ONLY.

                Like I said – the other content, combined with a reduction in subscription price, might encourage more people to retain their Foxtel than you and I might think…

                There are also the households where Dad watches heaps of footy… but they’d still keep Foxtel for the kids channels, and for movies etc…

                The key question is “do they want to find out”? If Foxtel really are intending to play hardball, then it could be up to the NRL to call their bluff!

              • July 1st 2011 @ 12:46pm
                JVGO said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

                Fox is apparently of the opinion that the new deals marginally better AFL package (without any heartland decrease in the FTA offering) will deliver a significant increase in subs in the Southern states. This is trumpeted high and low by AFL stooges and Fox itself as jusitification for the current AFL price tag. If that thinking is in any way legitimate I’m sure they will be seriously alarmed by any threatened loss of the NRL in the Northen states.

              • July 1st 2011 @ 12:58pm
                Ken said | July 1st 2011 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                ‘There are also the households where Dad watches heaps of footy… but they’d still keep Foxtel for the kids channels, and for movies etc…’

                Hey Willy, I think that those days are basically gone. My ISP has just started offering FetchTV, with a 20-odd subscription channels, plus movies and play on demand from $20 – $30 a month (depending on whether you buy the box outright or not – which is better specced than an IQl). This includes kids channels and movies and overseas soccer channels (if not as many as Fox). The big difference is that they have no major local sports.

                I don’t think I’d be alone saying that if the Foxtel was no longer the dominant home of my favourite sport, I’d save $100 a month and take this option instead. I’m sure Foxtel understand this too.

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