The A-league gets paid, the AFL gets an offer to play in the NT, and Nine eyes off the NRLs digital arm- all that and more in todays News Wrap.
Nine Media reports that The A-League has cleared a major hurdle for the resumption of the season after Football Federation Australia belatedly received its full quarterly payment from Fox Sports. Fox has now paid the near $12 million instalment of its broadcast deal with FFA, which was due mid-last month.
Australian Football League
The Age reports that AFL boss Gillon McLachlan had a phone hook-up with club captains on Friday to reassure them that player wellbeing was at the heart of the league’s plans for a return to play, after a miscommunication with the AFL Players’ Association over quarantine hubs led to angst among the playing group.
Mediaweek reports that The Australian Football League (AFL) has retained its strong network engagement with 4.4 million users tuning in to AFL Media in March and an average of more than 1 million per week across the network. The article notes that the AFL is officially the most engaged Australian sports league on social media, with over 2.1 million reactions shared on the platform last week, and 4.7million video views – despite the absence of live matches.
AAP reports that the AFL has been thrown a lucrative offer by Northern Territory’s chief minister Michael Gunner to host games in front of crowds this year. With just 28 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Northern Territory, the government is already moving to ease restrictions. This includes plans to resume competitive sport with crowds from June 5.
“You can play a footy game, you can have a crowd,” he told Sky News on Friday. “It’s the dry season up here in Darwin, it’s a magic place to be.So for me, that’s a massive attraction I would’ve thought to anybody, including the AFL.”
Players would also be free to move around the community — where cafes, bars and restaurants will reopen on May 15 — rather than being locked down in resorts.
National Rugby League
The New Zealand Warriors have officially been given approval to enter Australia and begin training for the re-start of the 2020 NRL season. Media reports that Tamworth Airport will be an international airport solely for the Warriors to fly into. [News.com.au][ABC News]
“This morning the [Australian Border Force] Commissioner exempted the 36 foreign nationals from travel restrictions, enabling them to travel to Australia,” Mr Dutton said in a statement. “Separate permissions have been provided to enable a chartered aircraft to land at Tamworth Airport on 3 May 2020.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Nine Entertainment Co has expressed interest in taking over the NRL’s digital arm as part of cost-cutting measures in a revised broadcast deal. The report cites ‘sources close to the negotation” saying that Nine’s proposal for an extended deal until the end of 2025 includes the code’s digital arm, led by NRL.com, which the free-to-air network believes currently runs in direct competition with its two broadcast partners.