BY CURTIS WOODWARD – EDITOR
Oh dear… Channel Nine doesn’t think rugby league will rate in spring or summer? Are we sure power brokers at the network understand NRL fans at all?
So there is this thing called COVID-19.
People have died. The majority of the population here in Australia are locked in their houses. Businesses are falling by the wayside. And our rugby league has been taken away from us. Nine have held the rights to the game since the early 1990’s. They should know their markets pretty well by now.
It’s not even Saturday of the first week of shutdown and we’re already begging for the game to come back.
Now imagine what that is going to feel like if we go six months without the NRL.
How bad will it be then?
But footy-starved fans won’t be interested in rugby league if it kicked off in September… right?
No footy for six months but Channel Nine believes we’ll much rather see a T20 cricket match between Bangladesh and Scotland in Hobart than the South Sydney Rabbitohs against the Sydney Roosters at a sold out ANZ Stadium?
Nine owns the rights to the T20 World Cup if you didn’t know.
Somebody needs to remind Nine that the most watched television events every year are rugby league games.
Perhaps they can flick them the ratings of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup (played from October to December and aired on Seven).
Better still, show them the ratings from the 2013 World Cup. Hosted in the United Kingdom, Seven’s broadcasts were beamed back to Australia at all times of the night and early morning. Yet the ratings were surprisingly good. That one was played in October and November.
The Sydney Morning Herald – owned by Nine – reported on Friday that the station won’t be making its quarterly payment to the NRL.
Michael Chammas wrote, “The Herald has been told by a source close to discussions that Nine’s preference is to renegotiate its current deal and extend its broadcast partnership with the NRL in a revised organisational structure that would see the clubs play a major part in the running of the sport.”
Are we reading that correctly?
It’s the NRL’s job to offer a top shelf product – it’s up to Nine if they think that content will attract viewers and sponsors.
Nine are within their rights to renegotiate but going on record with things like they have “hopes the current predicament will allow the game the opportunity to think outside the square, and potentially allow clubs a greater say in operations.”
Leave rugby league to rugby league.
NRL officials met with Nine’s Hugh Marks and Darren Wick earlier this week.
“While Nine are happy to show NRL at any time of the year, there’s a belief that rugby league over spring and summer would not rate as well as it has during the winter months, and therefore would be worth less to the broadcasters,” the story went on.
“Almost every organisation in the country is now fighting for its survival, and the prospect of a year without rugby league, although undesirable, would allow the Nine Network to save in broadcast expenditure in 2020 to cover some of its predicted losses due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”
‘We sure do like rugby league a whole bunch but forget about playing this year…we’ll save a few bucks’
You could put rugby league on at 2am on Christmas Day and people will watch it.
It would appear that the NRL, as we speak, don’t really have a voice at the table. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that TV ratings don’t lie. The NRL have plenty of options in the years ahead.
Rugby league and Channel Nine have been great for each other.
But nothing lasts forever.