ARLC lets TV takeover
So, here it is. It has been and gone, the protracted negotiations, the talk of money, free to air stations teaming up - all of that is done.by NRL
So, here it is. It has been and gone, the protracted negotiations, the talk of money, free to air stations teaming up - all of that is done.
Now what do we have?
Well, pretty much the same thing we've had for the past 5 years. The ARLC's success in squeezing out the dollars from Channel 9 and Foxsports has come at a major cost to the 2nd most important stakeholders in the game...the fans.
As with most things these days, money tends to smooth over the cracks, however let's not the details of what slipped past and forgotten in the back slapping, hand shaking and huzzah sounds coming from the games money men.
Breaking down what Channel 9 will provide
* Nine's Sunday afternoon game will remain on delay at 4pm.
* Channel Nine will continue to show only one live match of NRL a week.
* State of Origin will remain on Wednesday nights.
* The City-Country, Test stand-alone round will remain.
* The 7.15pm night time grand final.
* Nine will show three Thursday night games and take back the Anzac Day match between the Roosters and Dragons.
* There will be two hours of rugby league every evening on digital Channel 94, plus two hours every Saturday and Sunday.
* Nine will broadcast the Queensland Cup and share Test football with Fox Sports.
So once again the fans have got the raw end. Channel 9s persistence in denying fans a live Sunday game is at best baffling but at worst and also in reality - they just don't care. As stated by David Gyngell on Tuesday Channel 9 pays good money for the league so basically they are going to continue with the shoddy treatment that it has given league and the fans over the past 5 years. The Queensland fans that were compensated with a 5pm kickoff (4pm QLD time) will now have five years of looking forward to 6:15pm kickoffs.
The thing that is really a slap in the face for FTA viewers - one live game. That's it one live game? The WNBL - with no disrespect meant is a minor sport in Australia, was up until recently shown live as well. Netball's recent deal sees EVERY game of the season, shown on FTA. Now that is every game - 69 of them and their Sunday double headers are shown live. Channel 9 have 3 games to show a week, yet can only manage one a week. A disgraceful show of what Channel 9 really thinks of league fans.
Will we see where the ARLC's stance on stream games live takes them, this is a major avenue to get fans the live footy they crave, where ever they are in Australia and perhaps the world. If done correctly this avenue could get league out in wider markets, thus creating more revenue for the game.
The other aspect is that as the extra game - the mythical 9th game - wouldn't provide any extra money, thus meaning that expansion is not on the horizon in the next 5 years, which is a shame. A golden opportunity for NRL to gain some ground outside of its stronghold, wasted after the ARLC caved in. Not too mention the costs involved for the bidders. An argument could be made for the current teams needing to be looked after but surely there was scope for the NRL to have its cake and eat it too.
Fox Sports coverage is basically going to be the same as set out below
* Fox Sports will broadcast five live games every week, including 13 new Sunday night games which will be shown at 6.30pm AEST.
* Super Saturday will remain, as will Monday Night Football.
* They will screen three games other than NRL each week which will be shared between Toyota Cup, NSW Cup and Schoolboys Cup.
* Fox will also show all of its matches live on computer and portable devices to Fox Sports subscribers.
* Fox will show the Melbourne-Warriors Anzac Day clash each year except for 2014.
So once again the ARLC missed another opportunity. The Toyota Cup is a great competition to watch due to the attacking nature of the game. These kids have the raw skill and power of the NRL players, just not the defence or experience leading to high scoring yet entertaining games. Yet this competition is pretty much an afterthought. Surely the u/20's comp could have been sold to another bidder even an online one, as a lot of these players will be playing NRL very soon.
So whilst this may seem negative, I am happy that they got the money that they wanted and needed for future, but it is a case of going back to the future, where it's not the ARLC running the game. It's the TV networks, sure the ARLC got some concessions made but honestly why should the ARLC concede ground when you have more than one suitor. A win for the bank account, a loss for fans.
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