UPDATED: The government has approved Nine’s proposal to screen NRL games on GEM in in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
NRL will now be Live around the country -on either Nine or GEM- on Friday nights, beginning from this week. Sunday afternoon games will be 4pm in each market.
“This is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders – the viewers in these markets, the NRL, the Federal Government and of course Nine, whose joint mission is to bring the game to as many people as possible,” Jeffrey Browne, Nine Network Managing Director, said.
“We are particularly grateful for Minister Conroy’s positive and prompt consideration of the network’s application to make it a reality.”
From round five of the NRL, the southern markets will broadcast two games in Friday Night Football, one live at 7.30pm AEST and the next one at 9.30pm AEST. Then on Sunday afternoon, a third match will go to air at 4.00pm nationally.
Friday Night Football:
NSW / QLD: 7:30-11:30pm on Nine
Victoria and Tasmania: 7:30-11:30pm on GEM
South Australia: 7:00-10:00pm on GEM
Western Australia: 4:30-8:30pm on GEM
Sunday Afternoon Football:
NSW / QLD: 4:00-6:00pm on Nine
Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania: 4:00-6:00pm on GEM
The NRL Sunday Footy Show airs in Sydney and Brisbane live at 11.00am on Nine, will be shown at 2.00pm on GEM in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania in the lead-up to Sunday Afternoon Football at 4.00pm.
If the Melbourne Storm is scheduled to play on a Friday night, this will always be the first game to be broadcast, Live from 7.30pm in Melbourne.
Earlier story: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Nine has applied to the government to show NRL games on GEM in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
The move would surely appease fans of the code who have had to continually wait until late night (or even early mornings) to watch games.
It would also match Seven screening AFL on 7mate in some states.
But in some cases it may mean viewers in ‘southern states’ are watching games before they air in NSW and Queensland. It also isn’t clear if they would also be enjoying them in HD while the two key markets are potentially lumbered with SD broadcasts.
Under the new Anti-Siphoning List tiers, Nine will be able to play all but the Grand Final on its multichannel, but while these are (still) yet to be legislated, Nine must apply to Minister Conroy for permission.
“The minister has indicated his support for increased coverage of sport on free-to-air television in the past,” a Nine spokesperson said. “If and when we obtain approval, we will commence coverage.”