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Channel Ten’s Loss could be rugby’s gain

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle. (AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)
Stuart Arnold new author
Roar Rookie
13th April, 2018
17

The new cricket broadcast deal has left a reported $100 million on the table between Channel Nine and Ten, and Rugby Australia must try and grab as much of it as possible.

The loss of cricket leaves a gaping hole in the Summer programming for both networks. Rugby Australia must aggressively market the NRC as a valuable sporting alternative.

Channel Nine picks up the Tennis in 2020, so the marketing department at Rugby Australia should be setting up camp at Channel Ten to try and grab a chunk of the $20 million they were spending on the Big Bash.

That they have a current broadcast deal should help smooth the way somewhat.

The current deal with Foxtel runs until 2020, but they’d be easily convinced to offload the Super Rugby competition it in its current format.

The competition on free-to-air TV would need a chance of time window to serve the needs of the networks. An early November to mid-January competition will be necessary.

Yes, it will be hot, but 4 x 20 minute quarters with two five-minute and one ten-minute ad break gives free-to-air space to make some money.

This window also means the NRC teams get more time together in pre-season making a better product before Christmas with the added advantage of allowing club rugby to run longer without losing their best players to NRC pre-season.

After Christmas, more Wallabies will be available providing marketing power during the school holidays.

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There are plenty of reasons not to try and get this done. For starters, it will be seriously hard work. But, Rugby Australia should need only one reason to try their damnedest – rugby supporters in Australia have been crying out for free-to-air rugby.

The custodians of the game they love have just had a massive window of opportunity flung open for them to make this happen. Let’s see if the new CEO and her team can climb on through.