HomeNewsRugby LeagueAustralia

Seven, Ten and Google in the mix for NRL rights – report

Australian commercial broadcasters Seven and Ten, along with US technology giant Google, are all in contention for the free-to-air television rights to the NRL rugby league competition from 2018 following the conclusion of the first round of talks, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The Australian newspaper said Ten and Seven have formally met with the NRL in a bid to take the rights package from incumbent rights-holder, and fellow commercial broadcaster, Nine. The Telegraph said Google is the “left-field player” and is also talking with the NRL about the possibility of streaming games live to smart televisions.

The Australian Rugby League Commission, the body which runs the National Rugby League, is said to be willing to sell NRL games and the State of Origin competition as separate packages in a bid to attract the interest of both Seven and Ten.

Ten nearly secured the NRL television rights three years ago but missed out with Nine having first and last right of refusal. However, that clause has now been scrapped.

The NRL commenced talks with broadcasters in April to ensure that deals for the AFL Australian rules league don’t significantly reduce competition in the market.  The NRL currently earns A$1.225bn (€845m/$951m) in five-year deals, from 2013 to 2017, with Nine, pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports, telecommunications company Telstra and pay-television broadcaster Sky in New Zealand.

The NRL is said to be hoping that the value of its domestic rights could reach between A$1.5bn to A$1.6bn in the next window.