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NRL domestic rights to be opened up to the market in May

The Australian Rugby League Commission, the newly-installed governing body of rugby league in Australia, said that it would offer the new cycle of National Rugby League rights, from 2013 to 2017, to the market in May, after an exclusive negotiating period with the league’s existing rights-holders expires.

The ARL Commission, which replaced the former ARL board as the sport’s administrator, said at its launch on Friday that a three-month window for exclusive talks with NRL’s existing partners had started on February 1. Commercial broadcaster Channel Nine, pay-television operator Fox Sports and the Telstra telco currently broadcast the league in five-year deals, from 2008 to 2012.

Commission chief executive David Gallop said that no offer would be accepted until rival bids had been considered, Australian newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported.

The commission is understood to be targeting revenues of at least A$1 billion (€810 million/$1.08 billion) from the new cycle. Commission chairman John Grant said: “The process formally began on February 1… and we have got big expectations of that negotiation, as everyone has. We are playing for big stakes. We are playing for a reconstruction of the finances of the game in a very significant way.”

Commission member Ian Elliot will lead the sub-committee charged with brokering the new rights deals.