Nine holds option for NRL-AFL game trades

Australian commercial broadcaster Nine holds wholesale free-to-air broadcast rights through its new deal with club rugby league competition the NRL, under which it may seek to trade content with rights partners of Aussie rules football league the AFL, according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

Nine last week retained domestic rights for the National Rugby League in a deal that will double the value of its free-to-air rights fee for the competition. The agreement is worth Aus$185m (€125m/$137m) per season over five years, from 2018 to 2022.

Nine will show live coverage of four games per week on free-to-air television and digital platforms on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons at 4pm. The deal includes coverage of the final series and the State of Origin representative series.

The Herald said that the contract is structured to allow Nine to on-sell games to rivals, if it chooses. The newspaper added that this could ultimately mean that Nine ends up with one or some AFL games in return for selling some NRL games to rival commercial broadcaster Seven, or even fellow commercial operator Ten.

The AFL today (Tuesday) awarded its next cycle of domestic rights to Seven, pay-television operator Foxtel and telecommunications company Telstra. The rights will cover six seasons, from 2017 to 2022, and will be worth a total of Aus$2.508bn, or Aus$418m per year.