The NRL holds hope of finalising talks with broadcasters this week in order to give clubs a better picture of what the restructured 2020 season will look like.
Peter V’landys hopes a deal can be struck with broadcasters to unlock the details around the NRL’s return by the end of the week, but admits it will be a challenge.
Wednesday shapes as the biggest day of meetings for the game during the coronavirus pandemic, when ARL Commission chairman V’landys again speaks with Nine and Fox Sports about the code’s planned return on May 28.
The broadcasters will have a key say in the structure of the season, as well as the new financial value of each round.
According to the Herald, the NRL is looking to finalise a deal with the broadcasters until 2025 that will be less than the $325 million per year they plough into the game.
The NRL is confident of dealing with the loss in revenue streams for 2023, 2024 and 2025 by trimming costs.
FoxSports and Nine, which is also publisher of the Herald, agreed to pay $1.8 billion from 2018 to 2022 but are renegotiating after the pandemic shut down the game.
The plan is to move towards a similar decentralised governance model like the English Premier League, with clubs still receiving $13 million each year even if broadcast revenues fall or the salary cap is slashed.
Discussions over simulcast and exclusive games between the two networks are also expected to form part of that, as well as any changes to the weekend’s schedule.
“We’re trying our best to finalise all the broadcast things this week, and that’s optimistic,” V’landys told AAP.
“Because they are very complicated. And you have two partners, not just one. And you’ve got to work between the two of them.
“But they are certainly progressing. There are meetings every day. It’s not an easy progress. But we will get there.”
Reaching a deal with broadcasters will give the NRL a clearer picture about the competition’s structure, schedule and the placement of State of Origin.
The Apollo Committee will meet to discuss the practicalities around team training and health, after the biosecurity measures were presented to the commission on Tuesday.
Those measures are also expected to be shown to the players and clubs on Wednesday afternoon, as they move closer towards a return to training in coming weeks.
Likewise, it will give clarity to a number of clubs.
All three Queensland franchises will likely go into camp in NSW, while Melbourne could join them dependent on the Victorian government’s measures.
The NRL must still decide if families will be put up alongside the players, and what other support will be in place.
More pressing is the fate of the Warriors, who are waiting on further details from the league before flying to Australia.
While still awaiting an exemption to arrive in the country from New Zealand, the Warriors have also asked questions over player remuneration and medical and family support
“We’ve got to do some more work on (the Warriors),” V’landys said.
“That’s going through all the process at the moment with the government approvals as well.”