Why the NRL deserves to get its billion

The_Wookie Roar Guru

By The_Wookie, The_Wookie is a Roar Guru

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    Let me start by saying this, I’m an AFL person. I have always been an AFL person. My allegiance to the Broncos in the NRL is more to do with it being tied to my birthplace than any hardcore support like that I reserve for my beloved Carlton.

    So this article may well come as a surprise to some.

    We’re hearing all sorts of numbers and theories concerning the NRL TV rights deal.

    One thing is certain – it will be a lot more than the current arrangement. Given the scope of the AFL broadcast deal and given similar, if not better, ratings to the AFL, it should be patently obvious that the previous rights were woefully undervalued for a variety of reasons.

    However, these have nothing to do with this article.

    Supporters of the AFL are milling about various forums including The Roar with the idea that the NRL cant get as much as the AFL, expressing the view that the AFL is more national and thus more deserving of the greater slice of TV revenue. Yet, viewing numbers on Foxtel and elsewhere indicate support levels are almost the same.

    Then there’s content.

    The Foxtel AFL deal includes the Under 18s championships, the Foxtel Cup, the NAB Cup preseason competition, and nine games a week live on Foxfooty and Fox Sports 1. The Channel Seven AFL deal includes the NAB Cup grand final, and four games a round simulcast on Fox. Both outlets will show the finals and grand final. Telstra have the mobile and internet rights. With contra, this garnered the AFL 1.253 billion dollars – a record for Australian sport.

    The NRL has plenty of content, eight games a week – the season is two weeks longer – and the Toyota Cup. Then there is representative fixtures including City v Country, Kangaroos Test matches, the World Club Challenge and the big daddy of rugby league in Australia, State of Origin. There are calls from some quarters for a pre-season tournament, as well as a return to reserve grade. There may even be an extra game if expansion is approved during this deal.

    Oh, and then theres the New Zealand rights. I’d suggest that the NRL has plenty of content to offer.

    Then there is obviously ratings. Theres no denying that while home and away games run neck and neck with the AFL – especially this year, Origin blows everything away with the exception of the AFL grand final. No matter how you interpret the ratings from Oztam and RegionalTam, the NRL rates highly despite most of its ratings originating in two states (and three of the four biggest ratings areas).

    It remains a phenomenon that isn’t matched even in Melbourne – Sydney viewers of the NRL usually outnumber Melbourne viewers of the AFL. Melbourne is meant to be AFL mad, whereby Sydney is meant to be less earnest in its pursuit of the NRL (although such opinions are generally based on crowds, which has little or nothing to do with TV ratings).

    Finally, what was once lambasted in league media as a shortsighted arrangement, the NRL deal being negotiated after the AFL deal will be seen as a moment of genius when the dust settles. The Independent Commission will have a year to see how the AFL handles its arrangements with simulcasting and anti-siphoning legislation. The Commission will then be able to iron out those bugs during the process. Likewise, with free-to-air broadcasting and digital channels. In short, the NRL will get similar benefits, without many of the problems. Some predict – including myself this time last year – that the NRL figure would be about $850 million. We are going to be wrong.

    The NRL has undergone massive changes in the lead-up to the season. Theres a new Commission made up of genuine business people and several previous obstacles to progress have been removed.

    The News Limited and Fox entanglement is almost gone, and for the first time in years, the NRL has a genuine chance to put a firm foot on the sporting landscape. There’s a determination to do better that has been absent for some time.

    On every relevant benchmark, they meet or exceed, the AFL on raw data.

    They’ll get the billion. They deserve it.

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    The Crowd Says (174)

    • May 1st 2012 @ 6:44am
      MFB1991 said | May 1st 2012 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      At last an objective, factual account of TV ratings. The fact that the NRL is the most popular sport in 3 of the 4 biggest ratings areas is the key.

      • May 1st 2012 @ 11:13am
        Norm said | May 1st 2012 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        AFL supporters have not taken up Foxtel in high numbers in the past because all games were on FTA. Until this year. Expect to see AFL ratings increase as supporters accept that they have to subscribe to Foxtel to see their team play.

        • May 1st 2012 @ 11:23am
          Pot Stirrer said | May 1st 2012 @ 11:23am | ! Report

          Do you think that will affect crowd numbers?

      • May 1st 2012 @ 1:15pm
        Poor Boy Blues said | May 1st 2012 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

        originally wrote elsewhere, and relevant here.

        I have enjoyed your discussion, and i just think there are few people to hold to fixed numbers with any conviction.

        I have not. I dont know. I guessed the 800-960 by basic maths and a few presumtions.

        people will talk it up in good times of reporting and down in bad times of reporting.

        I agree the ARLC ***CLEARLY *** deserve 1 billion, and over 5 years, surely a big network can pay that per year, for such a priority aquisition as NRL; and i think thats where we are at. they can pay, but they want to whittle it down. its a negotiation, afterall, not a stand-over…and they will need outside influence (10 & 7) in order to go higher. I guess people understand this deeper down.

        My tip is for a final Billion+ deal.

    • Roar Guru

      May 1st 2012 @ 7:13am
      steve b said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      As they said in the movie the Castle ( YOUR DREAMIN ) and so are they if they think they can get that sort of money And where do you get your stats from ,,maybe viewers in the eastern states are close but let me tell you S.A…N.T…VIC,,W.A.. TAS..All A.F.L unless you have vast sat or optus ci sat in most of these areas the local channels its all A.F.L live and maybe N.R.L at 11 oCLOCK at night if your lucky !!!

      • May 1st 2012 @ 10:31am
        Ken said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:31am | ! Report

        Isn’t NT about 50:50? Not that it means much, the entire NT population is about 200k with very few major corporates so what they watch at Tennant Creek isn’t likely to be a big talking point at the negotiating table I wouldn’t think. And that’s the key isn’t it? I mean there’s more people (and money) in NSW than Vic/SA/Tas combined and QLD is double WA for good measure. It’s easy to say ‘hey, more states like AFL than NRL’ but when looked at on a population scale the NRL is the dominant league in about half of Australia and the AFL is the dominant league in the other half….

        The money they get will depend far more on market forces (who’s got money, who needs content) than raw viewer numbers anyway but the idea that the AFL is so much more popular than the NRL across the country and therefore deserves far more money is a myth. The AFL has certainly been better run over the last couple of decades and are far healthier in money and marketing but actual interest is pretty much line-ball.

        • May 1st 2012 @ 12:06pm
          Renegade said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:06pm | ! Report


          Your not allowed to bring common sense and logic into this lol

        • May 1st 2012 @ 1:43pm
          me, I like football said | May 1st 2012 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

          interest isn’t line-ball. Look at any key indicator and the AFL is at least 50% in front, the only indicator that RL is matching it with the AF is with TV ratings and that can be explained by length of game and PAYTV uptake. AF is way in front.

          • May 1st 2012 @ 5:16pm
            Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 1st 2012 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

            “AF is way in front.”

            Not in Queensland and New South Wales.

            Aussie rules is the most hated sport in Queensland. Go to most schools and you’ll hear children mocking it. The name they call it is the sort that cannot be said on here. They don’t mock any other sport. They won’t watch it, they won’t play it and they won’t even talk about it.

            Aussie rules is going backwards in Queensland and NSW. In western Sydney, there are 2 fewer junior clubs in 2012 than there were in 2011. In Queensland, the Lions have gone from drawing averages of 28,000 to just 21,000. THe game they played the other night only drew 15,000. The local derby against the Suns only drew 20,000.

            • May 1st 2012 @ 5:38pm
              Jaceman said | May 1st 2012 @ 5:38pm | ! Report


              Spoken like a true Maroon. It only counts if it happens in Qld. Did you happen to notice the monsoon during the Q clash or were you still in intensive care after only 30K turned up to the NRL equivalent designed to take the gloss off the Q clash. You might think its rubbish but the NRL schedulers dont think so…

            • May 1st 2012 @ 7:33pm
              Australian Rules said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

              Evening Qgirl, good to see you’re still churning out “Aussie rules is the most hated sport in Queensland.” Keep at it.

              And it’s great to have someone on the ground in primary schools across the state to verify this.

              The crowd of 15k on Sat night sat thru the most biblical rain ever witnessed…I was surprised even that many were there. Just by way of comparison…
              TITANS – averaging just 12,000 so far in 2012.
              COWBOYS – averaging just 14,000, including games of 8k and 11k.

              Oh…and last year’s derby between Titans v Broncos also drew only 20,000.

              Keep at it chief.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:10am
                Crosscoder said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:10am | ! Report

                The Titans are in a different situation to the Lions,if one had been keeping up to date with the scoreboard and offfield issues.
                eevn teh storm have bigger average 13,333 than the Titans,and we know don’t we AR the team is unloved in the South.And they have had wet nights there also.
                Yet when rl supporters mention rain of biblical proportions effecting crowds ,you guys laugh.Yeah keep it up ,we are amused as HRH would oft say.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 9:26am
                Australian Rules said | May 2nd 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

                I’ve been keeping up with the scoreboard and off-field issues CC.

                In 2011, the Lions finished 3rd last and won only 4 games for the season (2 LESS than the Titans did). They also lost sponsors and had another mini-exodus of football department people. Hardly boom times.

                Ditto for the Titans…except they had some moron steering the ship which crashed into a Centre of Excellence (sorry, couldn’t resist the Titanic reference).

                Qgirl rubbished Australian Football and the Lions’ crowds…laughable when 2 of the 3 NRL clubs have lower crowds. And the Storm may have a small following, but they are loved down in melb.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 5:36pm
                Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 2nd 2012 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

                Two of the Cowboys games were played under monsoonal conditions. I’m not talking about a bit of rain on game day, but heavy rain pouring down over Townsville for over week prior to the game. It blocked off roads and kept many people away from the game. Monsoons really do hurt the Cowboys because there’s no shelter at Dairy Famers Stadium.

                The Gabba has undercover seating. Brisbane is a large city. There’s no excuse for the Lions vs Suns match drawing only 15,000.

                20,000 fans turned up to watch the Cowboys play the Storm — not a team that draws big crowds in Townsville — when the monsoonal conditions disappeared. 😀

                I was disappointed with the crowd at the Broncos vs Titans match. Should have been over 40,000. But tickets to see the Broncos are far more expensive than Lions tickets, and people are feeling the pinch.

                There were plenty of plenty at Kougari Oval for the Wynnum-Manly vs Redcliffe match. Also played under rain. You won’t get a crowd like that to an NEAFL match.

              • May 3rd 2012 @ 9:11am
                Australian Rules said | May 3rd 2012 @ 9:11am | ! Report

                Qgirl, here’s a tip: check your facts before posting.

                “There’s no excuse for the Lions vs Suns match drawing only 15,000.”
                — The Lions v Suns game drew 22,000.
                (The Broncos v Titans drew 20,000 at GC IN 2011, 30k in Bris in 2012)

                “I was disappointed with the crowd at the Broncos vs Titans match. Should have been over 40,000. But tickets to see the Broncos are far more expensive than Lions tickets,”
                — Tickets for Broncos games start at $26. — Tichets for Lions games start at $25.50


              • May 3rd 2012 @ 8:40pm
                Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 3rd 2012 @ 8:40pm | ! Report

                I’ve gone to Lang Park to watch the Broncos play my team, the Cowboys, in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. I know how much tickets cost. I doubt you’ve ever been to a game.

                Tickets for the Broncos start at $29. If you want a good seat then you have to pay $55.

                I do not recall the Lions charging much when I went to a match in 2006. The Ticketmaster website says the most you have to pay for a ticket is $44. It doesn’t have much info, but the highest figure I found was $44.

                You’re citing figures from when the Titans played the Broncos at Skilled Park. Why?

                I got the Suns vs Lions match mixed up with the one against the Cats. 15,000 for a game against the premiers is pretty crap. Even the Victorians who live in Brisbane didn’t flock to the game in huge numbers.

            • May 1st 2012 @ 8:32pm
              Michael/Brisbane said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

              Yeah mate, having gone to school in Brisbane you’re right – they do mock it. Same would go for NSW. Where as the reception for rugby league in the other states is indifference. Now let’s look at why this is so. I jave one word for you Qgirl – FEAR.

              These kids are taught to hate the great Australian game by their narrow-minded parents because they fear it’s popularity and national presence.

              If rugby league was so great then they wouln’t give AFL a second thought, but alas you and them just confirm which is the dominant code.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 9:21pm
                Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

                If Aussie rules is so dominant then how come it was defeated in Queensland, NSW and PNG?

                Aussie rules was played in Queensland and New South Wales long before rugby league existed. An Ipswich reprenstative side defeated the Essendon FC during the 1880’s or 1890’s. Rugby league didn’t make its way to Australia until 1908. Rugby league became the top sport as soon as it arrived.

                Aussie rules was introduced to PNG about 20 years before rugby league made its way there.

                Rugby league is the national sport of PNG.

                Face it, rugby league is the dominant, more marketable sport. If Aussie rules was marketable then Queenslanders, New South Welshmen and Papua New Guineans wouldn’t have tossed it aside like an unwnted lolly.

                The only reason people from the southern states don’t talk about rugby league is because they’re far more insular than Queenslanders and New South Welshmen. Aussie rules is at the heart of their culture and they don’t want anything else to stand in its way. Queenslanders and New South Welshmen are less militant about their sporting culture. It’s why sports like soccer are played in high numbers in QLD and NSW, but have lower participation rates in the sothern states. Aussie rules is the only thing they know about because its shoved down their throat ad nauseum. Their media and parents didn’t even bother to let them know about sports like rugby league. Kids can’t like something if they don’t know it exists. If they had it shoved down their throat — like kids in Queensland have had Aussie rules shoved down their throat for the best part of 30 years — then they would talk about it.

                I used to like all sports. The insular attitude from Aussie rules fans turned me off the AFL. Rugby league has always been my favourite sport, but I didn’t live it and breathe it like the southerners do. Now I’m a club member of 2 Queensland Cup clubs and the North Queensland Cowboys and attend all Wynnum-Manly home games while watching all Pride games on their website. I’m loving it. I reckon more Queenslanders will become loyal fans of rugby league. We have to if we are to counter the AFL invasion.

            • May 1st 2012 @ 10:27pm
              Michael/Brisbane said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

              Ok, where to start?

              Firstly Aussie Rules was not defeated in QLd and NSW, NSW has always had the strongest relationship with the motherland, and QLD has always done what NSW has told them to. It has nothing to do with one sport being better than the other.

              Secondly, I have found QLD and NSW to be far far more insular than the southern states when it comes to sport. Rugby league does not have a presence in the southern states because of the poeple in charge, where as the northern states are taught to hate Aussie Rules. This would tell me that the southern states are far more open to any given sport and willing to give it a red hot go.

              thirdly, if you want to get personal, the only thing keeping rugby league respectable is the fact it is popular in two of the three biggest states – which has NOTHING to do with the fact rugby league is played there. So if you really want to look at it, NRL is king in 2 states and 1 territory, and AFL is king in 4 states and 1 territory. Pretty clear winner if you ask me. Furthermore, it has already been mentioned that NRL is the perfect TV sport, hence it gets great rating. But you need to learn there is far more to supporting a code than to watch it on TV. AFL still gets huge Tv ratings, AND massive crowds and memberships.

              Finally, let’s look where each sport stemmed from – Rugby league was born out of Rugby union for reasons which are insignificant right noe. Since then it has gone on to become popular in the North of England, two states in australia and the south of Auckland – Oh and some third world country you all seem to love to bring up. AFL was invented as a way to keep cricketeres fit in the off-season and has since gone on the become the number 1 football code in Australia.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 11:46pm
                Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 1st 2012 @ 11:46pm | ! Report

                “Rugby league does not have a presence in the southern states because of the poeple in charge, where as the northern states are taught to hate Aussie Rules.”


                Meester Cool’s response — down the page — suggests the opposite is true.

                Go watch the 6:00pm news in Victoria. You’ll find it goes out of its way to bury rugby league. The 6:00pm news in Queensland and NSW gives Aussie rules more air time than it deserves. I’ve found that rugby union gets less air time than Aussie rules in Queensland, even though union has a larger presence. Aussie rules has been broadcast into Queensland at a reasonable hour since the 1980’s. It has never drawn decent ratings. Same as NSW. Victoria never went of its way to broadcast rugby league. On the few occasions it has done so, it has drawn ratings that the AFL would love to get in Brisbane and Sydney for their coverage of the Lions and Swans.

                “thirdly, if you want to get personal, the only thing keeping rugby league respectable is the fact it is popular in two of the three biggest states – which has NOTHING to do with the fact rugby league is played there.”

                You’re making no sense.

                “So if you really want to look at it, NRL is king in 2 states and 1 territory, and AFL is king in 4 states and 1 territory. Pretty clear winner if you ask me.”

                You could divide Victoria into 50 states and then claim that there are 53 states that prefer Aussie rules — compared to rugby league’s two — but it doesn’t mean Aussie rules is the more popular sport in Australia.

                Over 50% of Australians live in Queensland and NSW.

                South Australia and Western Australia, combined, have fewer people than all of Queensland. The population for Queensland is about 4,600,000 at the moment. I think South Australia and Western Australia only have about 4,200,000 between them.

                NSW is far larger than Victoria.

                Tasmania’s population is smaller than the Gold Coast, hence the reason the AFL won’t give it a club of its own.

                ACT is larger than Northern Territory.

                “AFL still gets huge Tv ratings, AND massive crowds and memberships.”

                Aussie rules has been promoting memberships for decades. Rugby league didn’t get into it until the mid 2000’s. The Broncos have gone from having no members during the mid-2000’s to 25,000 in 2012. Compare that to the amount of members the VFL clubs had in their 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th year of offering club memberships to fans.

                “Since then it has gone on to become popular in the North of England, two states in australia and the south of Auckland – Oh and some third world country you all seem to love to bring up.”

                Rugby league in New Zealand is not confined to south Auckland. It’s played throughout a fair few regions and is watched on television. Its participation rates have increased throughout the entire country over the last few years. Plenty of talent in the NRL comes from areas in New Zealand that aren’t confined to the southern suburbs of Auckland.

                Rugby league is developing quite nicely throughout Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa, Jamaica and North America. The AFL has invested quite a bit of money in an attempt to expand its base around the world over the last 20 or 30 years, yet it hasn’t made the strides that the AMNRL, RLEF and RLIF have managed to make since 2000. Look at the LRL. They have a semi-pro competition that is sponsored by the Bank of Beirut. Melbourne Storm will be playing the USA Tomahawks at the end of the year. I have a Jacksonvile Axemen RLFC jersey that I bought from the club’s website. Good luck finding an equivalent for Aussie rules.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:32am
                maximus said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report


                Who is the biggest in a small sandbox – RU and RL dominated in NSW/Qld because of English tours and the Queen etc and inter colonial rivalry over that Victorian game but I always find it amusing when NSW/Qld people say AFL is invading when AFL was played in NSW/Qld long before RL arrived. As far as internationals go, I also find it amusing that the 2nd or 3rd most powerful RL nation (England ) has played 3 times in the 20 years in the worlds largest RL city. Does that tell you something…BTW Qgirl I think more people play AFL than RL in the US but in any event it is miniscule RL and AFL trying to expand is difficult but at least RL can jump on the back of (as they have done) RU played in 120 countries

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 9:28am
                Michael/Brisbane said | May 2nd 2012 @ 9:28am | ! Report

                Qgirl, that was my point?
                I said rugby league doesn’t have a presence because of the people in charge?
                That would be the media etc.. The actual people that live there have nothing against it, and would be more than happy to give it the time of day. Which is far more accepting than the folk of QLD/NSW who are taught to hate aussie rules. Now if you were to come to me and say you hate the AFL because you think it’s a terrible sport then fair enough, your entitled to your opinion. But I would say for the vast majority in QLD/NSW who say they do it is because they were taught to hate it, just as people are taught to be a Christian/Muslim etc (but we won’t open up that can of worms here). it is that kind of blind ignorant hate that really gets my blood boiling. If rugby league is your fav sport then good to hear it, but don’t go out of your way to belittle aussie rules, it just shows fear above all else.

                And on the population thing, that was my point as well..
                There are more people in Qld/NSW then the rest of aus, this is what keeps it somewhat a fair fight. But you are the minority of australia, apart from the north-east, every one prefers AFL. you could have ended up with the populations of WA and SA and there would be absolutely no arguments, but for reasons outside of sport, a lot of people chose to live in those two states and hence you can claim 50/50 status.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 5:49pm
                Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 2nd 2012 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

                “RU and RL dominated in NSW/Qld because of English tours and the Queen etc and inter colonial rivalry”

                So how come the first ever Ashes Test match was played at the MCG?

                I think that proves the Melbournians were just as eager to play against England in organised sporting competition.

                How do you explain rugby league’s popularity in PNG?

                I doubt the royal family has made many tours to the land of the kumal.

                Rugby league has dominated Queensland and NSW for over 100 years because Queenslanders and New South Welshmen believe it’s a very entertaing sport. The only reason the Victorians care about Aussie rules is because they invented it. If it was invented in Sydney then Victorians would have never touched the game. South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia tagged along and played Aussie rules because they had more contact with Victorians than with Queenslanders and New South Welshmen. Rugby league wasn’t introduced into Perth until the 1940’s.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 6:00pm
                Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 2nd 2012 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

                “But you are the minority of australia, apart from the north-east, every one prefers AFL”


                If a section of a pie equates to more than 50% of its total then it cannot be labelled a minority.

                Queenslanders aren’t fearful of Aussie rules. If we’re scared of it then hocome the fellas who run the FTA networks have given the VFL/AFL so much air time since the 1980’s?

                If the media was as fearful of Aussie rules as you say it is then it would devote all of its time to rugby league and rugby union.

                The Victorian media has gone out of its way to minimise its coverage of rugby league. That’s fear! You can sit there and say it’s all due to rugby league’s administration being bad at promoting the sport, but you cannot get around the fact that no administration, regardless of how good it is, can convince a commercial network to give it a leg up in an environment where it is not marketable. The FTA networks don’t gain anything from giving AFL a leg up in Brisbane and Sydney. Sports like rugby union are more popular than Aussie rules in Brisbane and Sydney, yet the media gives more coverage to Aussie rules. So stop telling lies and accept that Aussie rules has been given every advantage imaginable over the last 30 years, yet it is still a minority sport in QLD and NSW.

              • May 4th 2012 @ 10:24am
                Australian Rules said | May 4th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report


                I’ll help you out again with some facts (I realise that’s not your strong suit).

                The first Ashes Test was played at the MCG because Melbourne, as the most populated city and the booming centre of commerce, was the virtual capital city in Australia.
                So “I think that proves the Melbournians were just as eager to play against England in organised sporting competition.”…um yes, but it was an AUSTRALIAN team made up of Vics, NSWmen, SA etc.

                AS FOR “Queenslanders aren’t fearful of Aussie rules. If we’re scared of it then hocome the fellas who run the FTA networks have given the VFL/AFL so much air time since the 1980′s?”
                …wow…ok…um, because it’s written into the Broadcast contract that the networks signed with the AFL. Similarly, NRL games are shown on delay in Melbourne because it has never been part of the NRL’s contract with Ch9 that all games must be shown on tv.

                Just so we’re clear…it has nothing to do with people (or the media) being fearful of something. It has to do with the contracts that the networks sign.

                Ok then

              • May 4th 2012 @ 11:01pm
                Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 4th 2012 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

                Aussie rules began as a winter training regime to keep the players of the Melbourne Cricket Club fit. So don’t give me this rubbish that Melbourne held the first Ashes Test for no reason other than Melbourne was the so-called capital of the continent. The M.C.C. was the strongest cricket club in the country. Cricket was strong in Melbourne. Always has been. That’s why the MCG was chosen as the host venue.

                The other day I read on here that QLD and NSW abandoned Aussie rules and took up rugby league for no other reason than the colonies in Botany Bay and Moreton held very strong ties with England, whereas Victoria and South Austraila were more independent, or some nonsense along those lnes. If that’s the case then how come Queensland didn’t enter a team in the Sheffield Shield until 1926? No game is more English than cricket. South Australia and Victoria had their own teams in the Shield from day one.

                You don’t know what was written in the VFL TV contracts that were in effect during the 1980’s.

                You have no idea what’s written in the current AFL contract. You’re just assuming that you have knowledge. Show me an official copy of the contract so that I can read it myself. Can you do that?

      • May 1st 2012 @ 7:42pm
        db swannie said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

        Fact 1.more people live in QLD & NSW/ACT than the rest of OZ.
        Fact 2.Over 60% of ad revenue in this country is written in NSW.
        Fact 3 The 4 biggest ad revenue markets in this country are Syd,Mel,Bris,NNSW.(3 are in RL heartland).
        Regional QLD & Regional NSW combined are worth more $$$ than Adelaide & Perth combined..

    • May 1st 2012 @ 7:29am
      Fussballs AFL tracking spreadsheet said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      Average cumulative TV audience per round 2012 to date:

      AFL: 4,334,750
      NRL: 2,867,142

      Next topic.

      • Roar Guru

        May 1st 2012 @ 7:42am
        The_Wookie said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:42am | ! Report

        Please dont try to tell me about the ratings. I took a lot of grief last year for the position that metro ratings were the be all and end all. They arent. Yes, the AFL ratings are up 24% (according to 3AW on the weekend).

        Now the question is if the AFL gets such a jump with greater FTA exposure, and simulcasting, then what makes you think the NRL wont recieve the same benefit. Ratings on 7mate in Sydney and Brisbane are ok, but far from spectacular – and we’ve been there since the 80s. Ratings on GEM for the NRL will improve as people become aware its actually on – and are probably where they would be given the timeline of the Storm in any case – not to mention that many Victorian league supporters (as with NSW/QLD AFL) would be watching on Fox instead.

        We at the AFL side things keep judging the next tv deal on the current arrangements, and not acknowledging that the same boosts that apply to the AFL will likely occur with the NRL in any case.

        • May 1st 2012 @ 9:44am
          Fussballs AFL tracking spreadsheet said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:44am | ! Report

          I’m sorry for introducing the ratings. I note however the complete absence of any actual data in your article which strikes me as a tiny oversight.

          Look, we can argue about how much money each code ‘deserves’ as much as we like. In any fair & just universe school teachers would earn more than bankers and maybe the NRL would get as much TV cash as the AFL. But they don’t and it won’t. Move on everyone.

          • May 1st 2012 @ 12:09pm
            Renegade said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

            I’m sorry that you introduced ratings as well….it would have been much better if you actually included the true figures and pointed out the fact that AFL has an extra game each week and all are available live.

            • May 1st 2012 @ 2:58pm
              Xman said | May 1st 2012 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

              Wrong. About half the fta are live. Perth and Adelaide are delayed on Friday night. Saturday afternoon is delayed.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 5:06pm
                Crosscoder said | May 1st 2012 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                And what are the hours on fridays the rugby league is shown in Vic/SA/WA ? Oh wait.
                When 5 state capitals are brought in and regioanls ignored,wghen the nRL is hardly featurred at decent hours on FTA,the figures are rubbery.
                The real test will be when same number of teams in each code,same FTA and Pay Tv simulcasting and 5 sttes involved in both codes at waking hours.
                And only 1/3 of the FTA are live to the sydney and brisbane markets.

              • May 1st 2012 @ 10:10pm
                stabpass said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

                RL is played at reasonable times on fridays and sundays now, and they get 1K , Adelaide, 2k Perth and 5k in Melbourne or some such numbers, people who are interested know al about it.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:00am
                Crosscoder said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:00am | ! Report

                Yes with little or no publicity for starters and no history.It has just happened,so the intial figures are really only testing the waters.Name the NRL teams in adelaide and Perth BTW?
                People who were interested in Melbourne didn’t even know a Storm game was being televised this year live,so much for ch9.
                That’s why there is such a business in this world called marketing,promotion and publicity.Something 9 is a failure at…
                And BTW all the more reason to have a media outlet with a national presence such as 10 or 7 with teh rl contract.at least you know there will be promotion.
                Anycase stabpass there will be a Petrh team down the road,so we will see.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:36am
                maximus said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:36am | ! Report

                I love the way crosscoder speaks for every person in Melbourne..Cros funny when the NRL started to beat the AFL for the first time in ratings there was never any qualificaqtions about incl u20 games, not having games compete against each other, TV maximising the best games and timeslots etc. Now the boot is on the other foot it appears, its suddnely not even, blah blah

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:42am
                Boomshanka said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:42am | ! Report


                You’ll find the numbers you’ve quoted are for the usual post midnight Channel 9 Friday night run.

                If you actually looked at the GEM figures, you’ll find they are comparable with 7mates effort into Sydney with the AFL.

                As Crosscoder says, many in non heartland areas are not aware the option exists. Word of mouth is spreading though and the days of hoarding appear to be over.

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 2:19pm
                JamesP said | May 2nd 2012 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

                @ Boomshanks – you were so vocal on getting the NRL on FTA in Melbourne at a reasonable time:

                Average Sydney FTA AFL figures (7 mate) with Swans playing this year for 5 games is 54k This is despite every game live on foxtel. With its very high Sydney penetration, you’s expect a significant increase in those averages. I’ll take a conservative guess and add just 20k. Giving you an average of about 70k.

                Non Swans games Sydney FTA AFL average is about 37k. With a little Foxtel added lets say 50k

                Storms 1 and only game on FTA which was a Friday night too mind you drew 26k on GEM – live into Melbourne

                All other NRL games on FTA on GEM (live or near live for Sundays) drew an average of 14.9k. That inc

                Even GWS which is getting flogged every week draw about double that.

                Bottom line: even with live NRL into Melbourne, tv ratings are similar to what the Swans/AFL were getting into Sydney in the graveyard slots last year. Now with a like for like comparison, the Tv figures are accurately reflecting the gap that exists with average crowds (i.e. Swans are 2-3 times more popular in Sydney, than Storm is in Melbourne)

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 2:35pm
                JamesP said | May 2nd 2012 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

                Further to my post, I’ll add that both Sydney and Storm are undefeated this year. The Storm have had it good for a long time, and have failed to capitalise on their move to the shiny new stadium.

                If the Swans go on a run, watch those numbers grow to the levels of mid-late last decade.

                GEM figures for Adelaide and Perth are even worse for the NRL by the way, frequently in single digits (i.e. 1k – 9k), despite being live

              • May 2nd 2012 @ 3:14pm
                stabpass said | May 2nd 2012 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

                @ Boomshanka, no, they are not the numbers for post midnight, they are the numbers for the friday night live game and sunday arvo game, they are woeful at best.

                Perth has 2 NRL games on friday night at 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm and the ratings have been around 1k, 5k etc.

              • May 3rd 2012 @ 12:26am
                Queensland's Game is Rugby League said | May 3rd 2012 @ 12:26am | ! Report


                Compare the ratings for NRL in Perth with AFL in Brisbane/Sydney when the AFL was first broadcast into the northern states at a reasonable hour.

              • May 5th 2012 @ 12:00pm
                Boomshanka said | May 5th 2012 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

                Last nights respective football games into non heartland cities (mediaweek);

                Melbourne 30k Gem (NRL Bulldogs vs Eels)
                Sydney 34k 7mate (AFL Collingwood vs Western Bulldogs)

                I’d still say comparable and vastly different to what is quoted above.

        • May 3rd 2012 @ 10:25am
          Andrea said | May 3rd 2012 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          As a fan of Rugby League living in Victoria, I agree that if the sport had as much exposure on FTA as the AFL has here, the ratings for RL would go through the roof. But it is like Channel 9 is afraid of waking a sleeping giant and gives RL only a byline at news times in fear that it would take over their beloved AFL. (Not going to happen, not around here, it’s too ingrained.) But the locals would happily cheer another sport if allowed. I find it perplexing that they have payed for rights to show RL but show 10 to 20 year old movies instead.

          • May 3rd 2012 @ 10:50am
            clipper said | May 3rd 2012 @ 10:50am | ! Report

            Andrea – why is it perplexing? They’re a business. If they show league, they get 20-30k ratings (much lower in SA and WA),
            and if they show 10-20 year old movies they get over 100k – which do you think the advertisers would want? This is just not for league, but they don’t show the French or US open that they have the rights to, and many other sports that would not get the ratings that those old movies or 2nd rate reality shows get. I know it seems unfair, but that’s the reality.
            If the NRL wants the show live they will have to do what the AFL has done – do you think they would be showing 4 matches each week on 7mate unless they had to?

          • May 4th 2012 @ 1:45pm
            Australian Rules said | May 4th 2012 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

            “it is like Channel 9 is afraid of waking a sleeping giant ”

            Channel 9 are the rights holders!!!

            Why on earth would they be afraid of maximising their own viewership for a broadcasting product they paid millions to secure exclusive rights to???

            This conspiracy theory stuff is truly baffling and void of any common sense!

      • May 1st 2012 @ 7:46am
        Oethesaint said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:46am | ! Report

        Fussballs you’re trotting out the same old flawed 5 capital city numbers. Not to mention the extra game of afl on free to air, or the extra game of afl each week. Your numbers are as valid as nrl comparisons that include NZ tv figures. For “next topic” how about a lesson in stats 101 and comparing apples with apples?

        • May 1st 2012 @ 1:30pm
          ManInBlack said | May 1st 2012 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

          In fairness – in previous years, the NRL running a couple of extra rounds of matches, plus SoO and internationals and city v country etc – had to aggregate all those ratings to beat the AFL aggregate.

          Presently, 9 into 4.3 mill vs 8 into 2.8 mill looks more impressive to me.

          The other key is how many broadcast hours are provided. The AFL provides more broadcast time per match.

          The other key is are the ratings the average? or peak?

          There’s a whole lot of ways of cutting the numbers to support any argument. I guess we can then all comfort ourselves in the knowledge then – that we are right!!!! 😉

          • May 1st 2012 @ 7:49pm
            DumpStar said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

            I think you forget that the NRL only has 3 matches on FTA vs the AFL’s 4. Which means the AFL has a leg up on that count. Thus the NRL beating them overall is much more impressive.

            • May 1st 2012 @ 10:21pm
              ManInBlack said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:21pm | ! Report

              I didn’t forget anything.

              However, if you wish to make a point of this – then presently we see Ch.9 with 3 EXCLUSIVE FTA NRL matches – including the Friday night double bill.

              Ch 7 has 4 non-exclusive matches directly up against Foxtel ‘ad free’ coverage.

              5.5 of one, 6.5 of the other perhaps??

              Reality is – there’s no exact comparison. And, Oztam is too small a sample size anyway. It’s mostly a crock the FTA numbers!!!

      • May 1st 2012 @ 7:31pm
        db swannie said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

        Where is the link to some proof..& please please dont say Talking footy..

        • Roar Guru

          May 2nd 2012 @ 1:31am
          The_Wookie said | May 2nd 2012 @ 1:31am | ! Report

          I think most us get our ratings now from Mediaweek twitter – and those are released daily making it a little hard to link to. i know I do, and Im pretty sure that some of the LU guys do as well.There is currently a huge metro + fox dominance by the AFL at the moment, but one that im fairly sure can be addressed by a new NRL deal.

      • May 1st 2012 @ 7:44pm
        The Link said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

        Fussballs AFL tracking spreadsheet – why did the AFL receive negligible growth for FTA rights in its latest deal then?

        AFL finally got its cable TV pay day this time around, like other sports in the 90’s (EPL / NFL). Good luck to it.

        • May 2nd 2012 @ 12:10am
          Jack Russell said | May 2nd 2012 @ 12:10am | ! Report

          Because every FTA game is live on Fox, thus depriving 7 of viewers.

          If the NRL do the same to 9, 9 are going to want to pay much less than they otherwise would as well.

          • May 2nd 2012 @ 5:28pm
            JamesP said | May 2nd 2012 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

            Exactly. Why would Seven pay more (apart from inflation) for the same quality 4 FTA games they have always had (remember last time they sold 2 off to Ten).

            They did pay a little more, and got all grand finals and Brownlows included.

            Now, the interesting part of all this, is that Channel 7’s ratings are actually up despite the foxtel showing all games scenario.

            I think a big part of this (as others like Redb have alluded), is more live FTA footy – especially Friday nights.

            • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:45pm
              poor boy blues said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

              Very much.surely. You got to put people on the rugby league drip and keep them there.

              More shows.more views and angles of thought.

              Also want to see more access to players and coaches, before during and after games. During is debatable. But if you have seen EPL in the last ten years, they do awesome interviews. Plays and managers all show up in suits and give good accounts with good interviewers.

              It needs to be written into contracts, ect so people do it and TV takes advantage of it.

              • May 3rd 2012 @ 12:57am
                Poor Boy Blues said | May 3rd 2012 @ 12:57am | ! Report

                I said this somewhere but I think its relevant here too. You should take notice. They have been running numbers down in AFL HQ, because they actually care deeply about their game (thats great, so do we) and they discovered an alarming trend. QLD and NSW will only get bigger, and they are losing out on Marketshare. Thus 2 new teams.

                With that in mind..do take this on board, kindly

                And thats when you add up AFL numbers/base and Rugby League numbers, and base. They are pretty much even, and in time, even though AFL has made massive strides; sorry, they will be over taken by league.

                You have more people moving to qld. In some years it is said to become to second largest city. Plus regionals are already larger than WA&SA.

                It may look good now for AFL, but lets face it, Rugby League was quite happy to just exist bothering no one. But now AFL has prodded and goaded it, Rugby League will do what it did to Rugby Union in this country. Take the punch, then beat it hands down.

                All I am saying is, its like a pack of hyena’s attacking an elephant. The hyena’s will get tired more often than not. Indeed, they kind of know not to attack. You don’t stir up big things. Yet the AFL considers itself a giant. Its not. Its standing as tall, if not a little bit shorter at times, than rugby league.

                I mentioned the light above, and Cattery, in his infamous style, laughed and mock-questioned…..you know of what I am talking about Kitty-Kat: Rugby League’s ability to outgrow AFL, and do it with ease.

                Its like I said elsewhere. You can show these two games to people, and they invariably pick Rugby League. (outside culture)….and thats not calling AFL a bad game, because its obviously competitive football and skillful. Just saying.

                Its AFL that laid the boot in, rugby league has never really bothered anyone about anything. Back when it was fashionable to beat on league (kind of still is) we all know what went round…..well, what goes around, comes around.

                I don’t wish harm on AFL, but every time we talk about the two sports, its obvious in the undertones, AFL wants league dead, and they’d prefer not having to deal with RL’s basic right to exist.


                So when I come on and say, you woke a juggernaught, you did. Rugby League will be the dominant code in this country within 10-20 years. Not saying people won’t be playing AFL, I am saying, you won’t be able to compete as far as “keeping up” with the NRL. We will have 3 levels of football firing: club, origin, internationals. Junior numbers will be bulletproof, and our markets the largest.


                Trust me when I say I am not laying the boot into AFL, I can genuinely see rugby league outpacing everyone. We run the game now, and they just realized, mate, rugby league is THE MOST POWERFUL SPORT IN THE COUNTRY. The networks are not asking if they should get rugby league, the networks are asking what will happen if they DONT get rugby league. (I must make mention of Kim Williams sucking the AFL’s ego, saying how subscriptions would increase, that may be true, but he did it as much to keep rugby league down in price; luckily that untruth is over now)

          • May 2nd 2012 @ 10:51pm
            Crosscoder said | May 2nd 2012 @ 10:51pm | ! Report

            conversely Foxtel will have to pay a lot more ,and a sceond Brisbane side will make the blow softer for 9.( may have no option but to do it that way.time will tell.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 7:29am
      Macca said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      I think the timing might not benefit the NRL. Gillard’s high-taxing Labor govt is leading us towards a recession, and on top of that Channel 9 is broke. Channel 10 doesn’t have a lot of moolah, which leaves Channel 7 …who also have to be cautious in a recessionary environment.

      • Roar Guru

        May 1st 2012 @ 7:47am
        The_Wookie said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:47am | ! Report

        Its a possibility, and it could easily not go as I have foreseen too. However I believe that with the accomodations already made, and some that are being discussed now including increasing advertising breaks, splitting up the rights and a variety of other things, they can pull it off.

        Ten might not have a lot of money, but they need a mainstream sport at the moment. Rugby League is not only good for ratings but its much cheaper to produce than an AFL game. These things have to weigh heavily in favour of them bidding. Nines owners have already said ithey support trying for the rights, and fox…well they are fox. Not to mention Seven who have money, have only issued a downgrade on profit, but are still going to make a profit.

      • May 1st 2012 @ 9:33am
        Steve said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        Both company and individual income taxes are lower than the previous government, so while that may go down well with Ray Hadley, the inaccuracy is not only inappropriate in any context, but especially a sports forum.

        With regards to a pending recession, that is entirely possible as the situation in Europe doesn’t look great, and the debt that these media companies have accumulated (the companies not the government) will surely be an issue in a de-leveraging scenario. I feel that the AFL were lucky with timing, while the NRL and A-League may be less so.

        For games that are on FTA, can someone explain to me why they just aren’t on the nrl.com website concurrently, taking the Channel 9 feed? Surely the only difference is the data is not a broadcast transmission and people view it on PC’s (but also TV’s) rather than exclusively TV’s. I can see no compelling reason why this is not the case (that goes for all sports btw). It seems to be the case of old-school thinking without any proper analysis. Obviously it’s got to do with a Telstra agreement, but can there really be that much of a benefit to Telstra, especially since they are a big part of the market and will charge for data usage anyway.

      • May 1st 2012 @ 12:17pm
        micka said | May 1st 2012 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        What recession, we are one of the only countries that didn’t go through one over the past 4 years. Open your eyes.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 7:38am
      Crosscoder said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:38am | ! Report

      Wookie based on my experience with your posts on many forums,you continue in the main to show the most balance of any AFL poster,in discussing rugby league.
      I do not disagree with the thrust or the points you have made,

      • May 1st 2012 @ 8:09pm
        The Link said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

        Agree, this was a pretty balanced piece, nice work Wookie.

    • May 1st 2012 @ 7:43am
      Mals said | May 1st 2012 @ 7:43am | ! Report

      Steve B – it doesn’t matter that AFL is more national. A man & his dog live in TAS, NT, SA & to a lesser extent WA.

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

      • Roar Guru

        May 1st 2012 @ 8:34am
        steve b said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        This is the sort of comment that comes from short sighted people ,,for the game to grow and keep up with A.F.L it needs to be national or just call it the eastern aus states and n.z. rugby league and drop the national because thats what its not !!!

        • Roar Guru

          May 1st 2012 @ 8:43am
          The_Wookie said | May 1st 2012 @ 8:43am | ! Report

          and Perth may well be an outcome of this tv deal. Planning for that dates back to superleague days. In fact, Im personally expecting Brisbane #2 (already acknowledged to boost the revenue by millions) and Perth sometime during the deal.

          • Roar Guru

            May 1st 2012 @ 10:06am
            steve b said | May 1st 2012 @ 10:06am | ! Report

            My job takes me all over Aus and the one thing you notice in all other states other than N.S.W and Q.L.D and W.A is that you can watch .A.F.L but try and find N.R.L. on the box you cant ,, i just hope that whoever gets the rights they start showing it more on FTV This will increase the fan base i am sure! .And yes we have been hearing about a team in Perth for years and god forbid a second team in Brisbane.. i just hope the N.R.L. dont stop their and start pushing for teams in all the states sooner rather than late ,,,Because yes they have been talking about it since super league and still nothing !!

            • May 2nd 2012 @ 8:41am
              maximus said | May 2nd 2012 @ 8:41am | ! Report

              Have you heard of digital TV or is it just your hotel doesnt have it??

              • Roar Guru

                May 2nd 2012 @ 11:18am
                steve b said | May 2nd 2012 @ 11:18am | ! Report

                Said by someone who has no idea !

        • May 1st 2012 @ 9:07am
          Mals said | May 1st 2012 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Look mate it was said a bit tongue in cheek haha. No doubt the NRL will introduce a Perth based team in 2015 as they do want to extend the national footprint. The defunct Reds & now the Force have shown that WA has an appetite for the rugby codes.

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