Nine lashes out at NRL “mismanagement”

The Nine Network and the NRL are at crisis points over the future of the game, with Nine issuing an extraordinary broadside over the code’s “mismanagement.”

The NRL is about to sign off on a May season return date but has not properly consulted Nine.

A Nine spokesperson said: “At Nine we had hoped to work with the NRL on a solution to the issues facing Rugby League in 2020, brought on so starkly by COVID-19. But this health crisis in our community has highlighted the mismanagement of the code over many years.

“Nine has invested hundreds of millions in this game over decades and we now find they have profoundly wasted those funds with very little to fall back on to support the clubs, the players and supporters.

“In the past the NRL have had problems and we’ve bailed them out many times. Including a $50m loan to support clubs when the last contract was signed.

“It would now appear that much of that has been squandered by a bloated head office completely ignoring the needs of the clubs, players and supporters.

“We now find ourselves with a contract that is unfulfilled by the code. We hoped we could talk through a long term plan.”

The NRL‘s ‘Project Apollo’ committee was meeting on Thursday to further discuss relaunch plans. A 15-round competition (with two rounds already played) has been touted, with a May 21 restart.

But there has been speculation for months of CEO Todd Greenberg losing his job in a new era for the Australian Rugby League Commission, headed by powerful chairman Peter V’landys.

The stoush leaves the NRL’s $1.8 billion broadcast deal hanging by a thread.

Nine reportedly wants to renegotiate the deal, which extends through to the end of the 2022 season, on the grounds that games played in empty stadiums during coronavirus restrictions are not as valuable to TV networks.

Source: Wide World of Sports,


  1. If you believe Channel 9 give two hoots what the NRL spend their money on you must also believe in the Easter Bunny. It’s all a pretense from Nine to avoid shelling out rights fees while the advertising revenue isn’t there to recoup. They said as much in a stock announcement. Their motivation is to bully the NRL into renegotiating their rights deal to avoid losing millions during the likely years of soft ad markets & economic downturn. Which in itself suggests that, like the NRL & everyone else, they were unprepared for a global pandemic.

    • I completely agree with ‘Remote’. The Nine Network knowingly entered into a commercial arrangement to purchase the NRL telecast rights… an arrangement from which Nine would generate income from advertisers. To now start throwing barbs at their commerical partner seems a very cheap, and opportunistic, reaction to the current economic situation.

  2. Yesterday, I found the feud between NRL & 9 to be very confronting. Why 9 has gone into mismanagement is beyond me. Literally, Nine don’t care of the response from the NRL. This is literally, dumb and dumber. At this stage, this b/casting deal was overpriced.
    9 has destroyed the coverage of NRL – no post match talk in AFL states (especially Origin). The sooner 9 loses the rights, the better.

  3. Good on the NRL for trying to do something to try and get back to a level of normality. If they can get some people working again and manage the risk and provide many in the community with some entertainment that’s a good thing. The current chairman seems to have a much better chance of making it work than the former chairman who would probably just be sitting on his hands.

    The sooner the NRL gets rid of channel 9 as their broadcaster, the better for the game. Would love to see it back on channel 10 with a fresh set of commentators.

  4. Greed is what it is all about, congratulations to channel nine for saying what people are thinking, overpaid, pompous, money guzzling grubs.

  5. The NRL has always been terrible at managing money and this crisis, as sad as its come to this, has seriously proven it. The fact they want to even try and get it up and running again during lockdown just shows how arrogant the code really is. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  6. Can we blame the sports. The networks bidded for the rights. 10 would be feeling the best at this time. Nrl should have something to show for all that income. At least the afl have an asset in a stadium it can borrow against.

  7. thedirtydigger

    I’m sorry , but what double doofus at NRL headquraters decided not to bring Nine and Foxtel in on every discussion about the proposed resumption of the competition ?
    They pay the bills guys !? Don’t you get it , or has hubris of these bloated deals and the gravy train made you into a complete twits?
    And surely someone can provide us with a list of everyone who “works ” at NRL headquarters and what their ” jobs ” entail and of course their hard earned salaries ..?
    I’d love to see that …it would be like turning on the kitchen light at midnight in seeing all the cockroaches scattering …

  8. I think Ch 9 have many valid points here and are rightly playing hardball in their negotiations. It seems unbelievable that the NRL didn’t bring Ch 9 into its deliberations, so that it didn’t come as a complete surprise to them when it was announced – stakeholders anyone.
    I wonder if Ch 10 are sitting in the background looking to see if they can get a play at the rights?

  9. This is 9 clutching at straws.

    9 do not want the NRL season to go ahead as they told JP Morgan it would save them $130 million this year.

    If the NRL season does go ahead 9 will lose out big time because Coronavirus has caused adertisers to spend less.

    9 are the ones who mismanaged things.

    • If the NRL does go ahead at any time where the rest of society is still being told to self isolate and stay home I’m interested to see the disaster and backlash unfold. It could be as Bruce would say…delicious!

  10. Nine are spot on. It’s beyond belief that an organisation that reaps so much from broadcast arrangements can barely support itself for a few months during a crisis.

  11. Amateur hour at the NRL. This so called proffesional organisation needs to drop a number of Sydney teams they aren’t viable with their low profits and low attendances.

  12. The Rugby league will wins the ratings for 9 in Sydney and Brisbane, with or without crowds.
    It is true about the front office wastage, and you can’t blame 9 for trying it on, but they know if they lose the NRL, the audience loss to Fox and Kayo would be devastating for them.

  13. As a non-football follower, I find all this scrambling to get the NRL season back up and running absolutely ridiculous.

    Why do they think they can be exempted from the quarantine and social isolation rule in place? Everyone needs to stay home. Not move the season to an island and just pretend that COVID-19 will never make its way there.

    • you know this how Aussiecam? they maybe bleeding but they are not bleeding out like Ch7 (shares at 7c). All media is hurting. Foxtel offloading 200 people, Ch 7 staff taking 20% pay cuts, Ch 10 staff stood down for a period of time after Easter, PRIME and WIN asking Fed government for bail out to keep news afloat and 9 Network standing down regional news to focus on COVID – 19. All football was over priced AFL and NRL. and Union is dead in the water.

    • I agree. It seems sport rights are becoming so ridiculous overpriced. But that said, it is guaranteed ratings and a platform to promote other shows. But nevertheless, I can’t see how the TV networks break even

      • The extraordinary increase in Sports broadcast rights bubble is about to burst big time!!

        The greedy sports will have to generate other revenue streams.

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