The deal is worth $1.8 billion to the NRL – 70 per cent higher than the existing rights.
With the sale of international and radio rights to come, it is anticipated that the total value of the final package will exceed $1.9 billion.
Under the agreement, many of the changes to improve the schedule of games will start from 2016 – two years early.
Under the new package:
- Telstra Premiership matches will be held five days a week in 2016 – from Thursday to Monday inclusive – before reverting to four days a week (Thursday to Sunday) in 2017
- From 2017 the Monday night game will be moved to Friday at 6pm
- Nine Network will telecast games live and free to air on Thursday and Friday nights and Sunday afternoon in 2016
- FOX SPORTS will show all eight games every weekend – including five exclusive telecasts each weekend.Super Saturday, featuring three live games, will be retained by FOX SPORTS.
- The last five Saturday night games of each season will be telecast on free to air television in the build up to the Finals series
- From 2017 FOX SPORTS will run a dedicated Rugby League channel – giving the game more exposure than any time in the game’s history
- News Corp Australia will use its local media and newspaper resources to promote the game wherever it is played
- And it will use its worldwide resources to take NRL on to the global stage where we believe over time its incredible appeal will see an army of new fans emerge
- Telstra will remain the naming rights partner of the NRL and will telecast the game digitally on its mobile network as well as replays and highlights on its new Telstra TV platform in 2016.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that under the terms of the deal, which were being finalised by lawyers on Thursday night, News Corp and Foxtel partner Telstra have agreed to pay $1.175b over five years for the NRL’s pay-TV and digital rights.
Fox Sports will also simulcast the three free-to-air matches after taking up an option to pay Nine $25million per year for the rights, while News Corp paid $175million to buy back the Saturday night match and ensure the continuation of its Super Saturday franchise.
Telstra is understood to have paid $200million for the digital rights and is also expected to retain the naming rights for the NRL premiership, while the New Zealand broadcast rights could yield up to $150million more to take the overall deal to $2billion.