Plenty of news for followers of all codes today as Peter Vlandys takes on his broadcasters, even as sport nationwide stands to lose $200m. Racing declines to take a back seat to the AFL, and what can a new World Rugby chairman do?
A-league and football
- THE light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel is slowly appearing and Football Tasmania is working overtime in an effort to make a swift return to the pitch.
AFL and Australian Football
- The new-look AFL season could feature games played on five days of the week and see players deal with shorter breaks between matches as footy bosses map out the revamped campaign after it was interrupted by coronavirus.
- Key racing figures have led calls for racing and football to come together and create an epic October sporting “mega weekend” that includes football’s first night Grand Final.
- Port Adelaide says the AFL isn’t a “slave trade business’’ and declared players won’t be forced into quarantine hubs against their will.
- Adelaide will ask its interstate-based players to return to Adelaide in the coming days after the AFL told clubs to get ready for the season to be restarted.
- GEELONG has warned its financial sustainability “is in jeopardy” as it starts to test member sentiment about the desire for refunds.
- AN EASTERN seaboard league shapes as a possible solution to the second-tier competition conundrum facing the AFL. Under the concepts raised at last week’s talent pathways committee meetings, AFL.com.au understands one proposal could see the Sydney, Greater Western Sydney, Brisbane and Gold Coast reserves sides join the Victorian clubs’ competition in 2021.
ARU and Rugby Union
- Newly re-elected World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont has revealed plans for a new global tournament which could lead to two consecutive months of international action.
- Private equity specialist Peter Wiggs, who is pushing to take over as chairman of beleaguered Rugby Australia, is already battling to shore up the future of another struggling sport: Supercars.
- Southern Hemisphere rugby nations could face going broke, unless re-elected World Rugby boss Bill Beaumont changes the way the global game is funded.
- Sports are set to miss out on at least $200m from broadcasters even if respective competitions resume later this year, as networks push to wind back highly priced broadcast fees, arguing the content will be inferior without crowds in grandstands.
- Cricket Australia officials have told stakeholders a $50 million loan with the Commonwealth Bank is a “done deal”, a development that has triggered fresh questions about the governing body’s decision to stand down most of its staff for a saving of $3m.
- The Targa Tasmania tarmac classic will have a new timeslot in early March to kick start a month of premium motorsport that will also include the Formula 1 race in Melbourne and the Supercars round at Symmons Plains.
NBL and Basketball
- The NBL has commenced work on identifying a start date for the 2020-21 Hungry Jack’s NBL Season as it works with the clubs and other key stakeholders for the return of basketball in Australia.
NRL and Rugby League
- the QRL are not only working towards a return to the field within the next two months, but are also looking at how they can now incorporate their Intrust Super Cup player
- Cronulla star Wade Graham has slammed reports that NRL players were planning to revolt over a pay dispute, saying they were “right behind” ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys.
- Former ARLC Chair David Grant calculates that if the NRL converted half its existing 1.6 million digital customers into $25-per-month subscribers, and had a free-to-air broadcaster pay a fair but lesser price than Nine pays now – plus monetises other available revenue streams – it could produce annual revenue of over $360m with advertising offsetting production costs.
- Players will have a “one in 10,000 chance” of catching coronavirus if they abide by the NRL’s strict biosecurity measures, Peter V’landys says. And the ARL Commission chairman has played down the health risk posed by the NRL’s return, claiming the community will be safer when players adopt their strict protocols.
- The boss of the NRL has hit out at the AFL as rugby league players return to training this week with a view to relaunching their season on May 28.
“I’m used to that sort of rhetoric from Victoria, it’s nothing new for me,” Mr V’landys told the Herald Sun. “We set ourselves a challenge and a target date. Everyone has got behind it in the rugby league world and if we achieve it, it’s an achievement by the game itself. So those people (within the AFL) should really have been concentrating on their own business and their own activities without making ill-informed comments about something they know nothing about.”
- ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has rejected the argument that the NRL will be a less valuable product to broadcasters without crowds, saying he hopes the game’s two television partners “see reason and pay what we ask” for the rest of the season.
“I disagree with that vehemently,” V’landys told the Herald. “ It’s got nothing to do with the product or what product we’re supplying. You can use all the excuses to reduce it but at the end of it, it’s how much you’re willing to pay. How much you can write in advertising, how much revenue you can get out of the product and work out how much you want to pay for it. It’s not about rounds, it’s about money. At the end of the day don’t worry about anything else … it’s the quantum. It’s nothing to do with what you’re supplying. It’s the quantum in these circumstances, in this economic crisis. We hope the broadcasters see reason and pay what we ask and then we’ll go from there.”
- the Victoria Racing Club is willing to go head-to-head with the grand final if it falls on the opening day of the Cup carnival.
- Soccer fields, football stadiums, tennis courts and martial arts arenas have been filling gaps in health care systems overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Premier League fears losses of more than STG1 billion ($A1.9 billion) from an incomplete campaign as broadcasting commitments are not met.