Rugby Australia seeking new broadcast deal

Reports claim FOX Sports believes RA boss never intended to strike a new deal with them.

Rugby Australia is preparing to take a package for broadcast right to market this month, but it’s a move that is drawing furious commentary in media.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the FOX Sports executives now believe RA’s chief executive Raelene Castle never intended to strike a new deal with them. Talks between parties broke down on Wednesday.

The current pay television deal, signed in 2015 was worth $285 million, giving RA $57 million a year and due to expire at the end of 2020. The newspaper said she rejected their opening offer of $200 million, but remained silent for months without indicating her preferred price.

FOX Sports executives believe the RA boss scuppered a deal so she could take the struggling code onto free-to-air television on Network 10. The report suggests Castle was also gambling on a bid from Optus, which is yet to make any offer, to make up for any shortfall in funding.

A Network 10 spokesperson said, “We have a good, long term partnership with Rugby Australia and are looking forward to the formal broadcast rights process starting.”

Peter Campbell, head of FOX Sports, said, “We never comment on commercial negotiations or speculation about broadcast rights.

“FOX Sports will continue to be the home of rugby union with all Super Rugby, the Rugby Championship and Wallabies games in 2020.

“The rugby rights from 2021 onwards are a matter for Rugby Australia.”

An Optus spokesperson added, “As a matter of policy, Optus declines to comment on any speculation regarding programming rights.”

Source: Seven News, AdNews

16 Responses

  1. Raelene Castle- failed at NZ netball, the NRL Bulldogs and now RA. The management at Rugby Australia is very poor with the sacking of Israel Folau last year and resignation of Cheika.

    1. Cheika was coach for 6 years. After the first season he didn’t develop the team at all, achieved very little and shouldn’t have lasted that long. His win record against strong teams: NZ 3/14, England 1/9, SA 3/8 (+2 draws), Ireland 1/5, Scotland 2/4.

    1. Bottom feeders maybe, but look at the ‘success’ BBL has made in the last two years on 7 and FOX. Nothing but declining ratings due to extended season and poor quality coverage. What used to be a great family affair has turned into a joke. 10 obviously saw this over saturation being a problem and knew to go lower instead of thinking the rivers of gold would continue by milking the season for too long.

    2. Union could be bigger than NRL if it got its act together. They need a long term broadcaster like Nine with NRL. Stop switching Broadcasters and methods to market. Monies are not the be all. Get market share n bums on seats with a single media alliance. Ten would be a good partner.

  2. I’m not sure that even the NRL would survive commercially being totally focused on FTA coverage, like most sports it needs full coverage and their agreement with Foxtel provides it, viewers have a choice including seeing all games commercial free.
    Considering that Super Rugby is a multi-national competition with different time zones FTA is going to find developing broadcast time slots a problem which means that fans of NZ rugby (for example) will only see edited highlights late in the evening, a guaranteed ratings fail without pay TV full coverage.

    1. Haha that’s a joke..Rugby League/NRL is so so much better than Rugby Union. The NRL TV Ratings are massive compared to the little amount that watch Rugby, also NRL attracts more crowds than Union. Rugby union is totally boring and useless and to prove it what happened to Western Force, they got dropped, looks like they are making it go downhill, who’s next Melbourne Rebels & etc..
      Rugby Union is the worst sport ever, they are at the bottom only competing with Soccer/A-League meanwhile the NRL is competing at the Top with AFL, the NRL & AFL are the two biggest most popular competitions in Australia.!!

      1. Wallabies are only in Ten due to the anti-siphoning laws. NSW and Qld club rugby pays Seven to broadcast club games.

        In NZ, one Super Rugby game is shown on delay on FTA. I’d expect the new broadcast deal (whether it is Foxtel or Optus) would have this so RA get some exposure for non Pay TV customers. But it will be punted to 10 Bold.

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