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NRL mulls in-house production for next rights cycle

The National Rugby League (NRL) is considering whether to bring broadcast production of its matches in-house in the next cycle to increase competition for its rights.

The NRL has traditionally favoured splitting its media rights between a free-to-air and subscription broadcaster but is thought to be weighing up the move to bring more broadcasters into the mix.

Foxtel, Nine and Telstra paid $2bn for the NRL rights from 2017 to 2022, 70 per cent higher than the previous deal, but changes in media consumption habits mean the NRL is unlikely to command similar sums in the next cycle without adapting the way it takes its rights to market.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the NRL could sell Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday and Sunday games as separate entities to individual networks such as Seven, Nine, Ten and Fox Sports. By taking production in-house, it could bring free-to-air broadcasters such as Seven and Ten and new streaming platform Kayo into the mix.

It is also thought NRL could sell the rights to properties such as the State of Origin, international matches and the World and club 9s tournaments separately to extract maximum value.