Network Ten have their sights set on acquiring the rights to broadcast Super Rugby – a move that would see them put the sport back on free-to-air television.
In a bid to boost ratings, Ten have expressed an interest in expanding their rugby coverage. Currently the network has the rights to some international matches, but the addition of Super Rugby would be a big step forward.
The interest in a flagship winter sport has been spurred by the ratings success Ten experienced with the Big Bash League over the summer, during which matches averaged 638,000 viewers.
The network will be hoping to compete with the likes of Seven (AFL) and Nine (NRL), who currently dominate the winter sports market.
Ten executive chairman Hamish McLennan has stated, “Rugby needs to broaden and get into the mainstream to build its fan base.”
Many Super Rugby fans would agree that free-to-air coverage would be a big boost for the profile of the competition, which struggles to find the attention rival codes receive.
The accessibility of Super Rugby has been a hotly debated topic for some time, with many of the view that the competition must make the move to free-to-air.
A move to Network Ten would see Super Rugby broadcast on free-to-air in Australia for the first time since it was created in 1996.