Rugby is on the cusp of clearing the final impediment for the relaunch of the NRL premiership on May 28 following a major development in broadcast negotiations.
Rugby is on the cusp of clearing the final impediment for the relaunch of the NRL premiership on May 28 following a major development in broadcast negotiations.

ARLC green lights $2bn deal that will save NRL

The ARL Commission on Tuesday approved the code's revised broadcast deal - clearing the final impediment for the relaunch of the NRL premiership on May 28.

News Corp can reveal the ARLC has rubber-stamped the terms of the TV rights contract that will save the NRL from bankruptcy in a deal understood to be worth around $2 billion.

The Commission met with the panel members, including chairman Peter V'landys, discussing the relevant components of the broadcast deal before giving the green light for the contract to be sent to TV partners Channel 9 and Fox Sports.

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The broadcasting stakeholders will now hold their respective board meetings over the coming days to give their approval to the TV rights deal that will steer rugby league out of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is understood the deal is in the vicinity of $1.8 to $2 billion with Channel 9 maintaining their commitment to the NRL until the end of 2022, scuppering fears they would walk away from the code.

Channel 9 have baulked at a long-term extension, although that scenario is palatable to Fox, who are prepared to ink a four or five-year extension to remain loyal to rugby league until 2026-27.

Any broadcast deal of around $280-300 million per annum is considered an excellent outcome by experts in sports broadcasting negotiations.

Nine CEO Hugh Marks. Picture: AAP/Joel Carrett
Nine CEO Hugh Marks. Picture: AAP/Joel Carrett

 

V'landys told News Corp last week he was adamant he would deliver a broadcasting deal that would safeguard NRL clubs and ensure the resurrection of the premiership on Thursday week.

On Tuesday he officially succeeded.

"The broadcast deal will be resolved before May 28," he said recently.

"I won't be talking figures through the media, but I am confident with our position and what we have put forward to the broadcasters.

"We have done a lot of hard work on this.

"I believe a resolution will be found."

V'landys conceded there was some concern free-to-air giant Channel 9 would sever its 30-year association with rugby league.

"I've taken Channel 9 from not wanting to be in the game to being committed for the next three years. It has been a hard slog to be honest with you," he said.

"We're still dealing on the extension side of things, there will be an extension with Fox, definitely.

The NRL is on the cusp of securing its future. Picture: Brett Costello
The NRL is on the cusp of securing its future. Picture: Brett Costello

"We won't have all the final details done, but we will have the dollars in place, which is the most important thing for me to begin planning how much money we can distribute to the clubs and the players."

Australia's most experienced sports TV rights negotiator, Global Media boss Colin Smith, lauded V'landys' business acumen.

"In this climate, if you ask what represents a good broadcast deal, I would say anything from $300 million to $350m a year is an excellent result," Smith said.

"V'landys is a master negotiator, he is a streetfighter and he is not afraid to take the bull by the horns. He looks at the outcome and he actually delivers on it.

"If Peter can achieve in excess of $300 million for the NRL on this next deal, that is fantastic."

Originally published as ARLC green lights $2bn deal that will save NRL



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