Nine lands Rugby World Cup

The Nine Network has secured the rights to the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

In a deal with the International Rugby Board and in conjunction with FOX Sports, Nine has announced plans to deliver comprehensive coverage of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand and the 2015 tournament. It follows the network’s acquisition of the London Olympics in 2012.

CEO David Gyngell told The Sunday Telegraph: “We really are the wide world of sports now. The guarantees of our industry are local news services and big sporting events. They are the tent poles to keep free-to-air television dominant”.

Nine will broadcast all Australia’s matches plus high interest games, all quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final itself.

Nine now has the free-to-air broadcast rights to the upcoming Rugby League World Cup, the Cricket World Cup in 2011, the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics, and has an ongoing commitment to broadcast the NRL Premiership, the summer of cricket Tests and one-day matches, next year’s Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, plus Wimbledon and international golf.

Securing the rights will also boost advertising revenue for the network at a time when the market is flattening out. It also comes as speculation mounts about job cuts at sister company ACP.

Press Release:
Channel Nine and FOX SPORTS are pleased to announce an agreement with the International Rugby Board (IRB) to provide live television coverage of the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and 2015.

The IRB rights deal with FOX SPORTS encompasses all matches from the 2011 Rugby World Cup to be played in New Zealand and the 2015 Rugby World Cup (Venue TBC).

Channel Nine will bring free-to-air viewers all the action from the big games in the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and again in 2015.

David Gyngell, CEO of Channel Nine, said “We are very happy to add these two big World Cups to our International Cricket World Cups and Rugby League World Cup and of course, the next two Olympic Games on Nine. Wide World of Sports on Nine is the home of big international and national sport and we are thrilled to have such a full program of events through to 2015.”

FOX SPORTS will broadcast live and national coverage of all matches from both tournaments. This agreement includes mobile and online rights for all matches for both events.

David Malone, CEO of FOX SPORTS said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Channel Nine and the IRB and are pleased to be able to provide our subscribers with live and national coverage of every match played as part of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

“In securing these rights, FOX SPORTS is again demonstrating our long term commitment to rugby union and to investing in premium content for our subscribers. FOX SPORTS has been the exclusive live Australian broadcaster of Super Rugby since it turned professional in 1996, as well as being the domestic host broadcaster of the Wallabies for the past 3 years and the subscription television broadcaster of the 1999, 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.”

International Rugby Board Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: “The IRB is excited that it will be working with broadcasters FOX SPORTS and Channel Nine for Rugby World Cup 2011 and 2015. FOX SPORTS showed its commitment to Rugby World Cup in 2003 when it created a Rugby channel for the tournament and it has a proven pedigree in Rugby broadcasting. Channel Nine is renowned as a broadcaster of major events and will provide the free-to-air coverage of the tournament in Australia. This coverage means the Australian public will enjoy comprehensive, high quality coverage of Rugby World Cup which is now one of the world’s largest sports events.”

This announcement comes off the back of a record-breaking year for Rugby Union on FOX SPORTS. This year, game 1 of the Bledisloe Cup set a new subscription television (STV) rugby union audience and ranks as the #1 STV program for the year to date. The 2008 Super 14 also achieved record results this year with average audiences up 26% year on year.

Source: Sunday Telegraph


  1. Will 9 be broadcasting the operning game of the Rugby World Cup 2011? I think it is great because there is a wide audience that are interested in Rugby but due to the lack of it show on free to air tv we have all turned to pay TV

  2. Interesting comment in opening there –

    ‘Nine will broadcast all Australia’s matches plus high interest games’

    Wonder how many games will be live ?

    or should we just say look out 11pm slot…

  3. To Rutzie: Fox Sports are showing other international rugby matches (non-World Cup) involving Australia, at home and abroad, either live or delayed. Ten may join the party in 2010.

  4. This is a good pick up by Nine. Their second SD channel will definitely be up and running by 2011 so I suspect that, along with their HD channel, is where most of the matches will be shown.

    Nine is without doubt the best channel for showing big ticket sports. Their broadcast of the NRL, Cricket and Tennis is second to none and this will be no different. Also, just like the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics, whatever Nine chooses not to show we will be able to watch on Fox Sports. This is the best possible result for sports fans.

  5. Will they be showing any other internationals involving Australia during this period or just the World Cup. Unless they got it cheap as then I don’t see the point of them buying the rights to it. Rugby Union would probably be the 4th Ranked football sport in Australia at the moment behind NRL, AFL, and soccer.

  6. I reckon Nine is pretty much the front runner to get the NRL rights, i read somewhere that David Gallop (NRL CEO) is working very closly with Mr. Gyngell to work out ways to strengthn the ratings and the quality of NRL delievered free to air on NINE.

  7. I would think, Ray Warren would need a class in rugby commentary. Nine also has Brisbane-based Rupert McCall (who worked at last year’s Rugby World Cup for Ten). But seriously, How does Nine afford these sporting rights when the parent company is in debt?

  8. All Nine needs now is the AFL, Melbourne Cup (they have the winter and autumn carnivals expect this race), and Motor Racing and they have all the sports!

  9. Nine has never broadcast a rugby union game before, apart from rugby sevens during the 2006 Commonwealth Games which the network covered. It will be fascinating to see how much of Nine’s expertise in rugby league coverage can be transferred to rugby union. I also have a few questions:

    1. Where did Nine get the money from, given its owner PBL Media is heavily in debt, and the network and Foxtel had just forked out more than US$100 million for the rights to the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games?
    2. How will Nine cover the RWC in 2011 as it will clash with the NRL finals and the first half of Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne? (The tournament is scheduled to be played over seven weekends from the weekend starting September 10 and culminating at the weekend starting October 22, 2011)
    3. As Nine’s rights to the NRL expires at the end of 2012 season, and the network is still keen to bid for the AFL TV rights for 2012-2016, Is Nine trying to diversify its interest in other sports just in case it may not get the NRL and/or the AFL from 2013 onwards?

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