Australian commercial broadcaster Channel Nine and pay-television operator Fox Sports have submitted a joint bid for the country’s National Rugby League rights covering five seasons, from 2013 to 2017. However, the bid is “considerably less” than the A$1 billion (€784 million/$1.03 billion) that the Australian Rugby League Commission – which is responsible for brokering the next cycle of domestic rights – had hoped for, according to the Herald Sun.
A decision on whether to accept the bid will not be made until August, but the Brisbane Times said that the likelihood of the offer being accepted by the commission may hinge on Nine agreeing to give up its exclusive live rights and allowing Fox Sports to show the same matches live.
The newspaper said that the commission was more likely to maximise the rights fee, while keeping some rugby league on free-to-air television, by insisting on such a deal.
The two broadcasters are the current NRL rights-holders in five-year deals, from 2008 to 2012, but their exclusive window of negotiation with the commission expired last week.
Commercial broadcasters Seven and Ten are among the other broadcasters interested in the rights.