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Posted by RLPA

August 09, 2015

Rights deal is great step for Rugby League

The Chairman of the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA), Clint Newton, today congratulated the NRL on securing a new free-to-air television agreement, hailing it as further evidence of the strength of Rugby League.

“This is a great step forward for our Game and the team at the NRL deserve praise for signing this landmark Australian free-to-air sport broadcast deal,” said Newton of the Nine Network agreement.

“I also want to congratulate my fellow Players who provide top-shelf entertainment week in and week out and whose talent and commitment has laid the platform for this deal.

“Apart from the financial value, the deal will extend Rugby League’s reach and make it more accessible to more people,” said Newton. “That will, in turn, benefit everyone involved in the Game.”

Newton says even though the non-free-to-air components of the 2018-2022 broadcast rights are still to be finalised, he is cautiously optimistic about the future for Players under the new arrangements.

“Dave Smith spoke today about the demands on our elite Players and the desire of the NRL to reduce, if not eliminate altogether, the number of five-day turnarounds,” said Newton. “This agreement means the NRL will control the draw and can make that a reality. 

“There is no doubt Player burn-out is an issue and one we’ve been discussing with the NRL for some time,” said Newton. “We look forward to continuing that conversation in the context of both this announcement and the new interchange rules to ensure Player welfare is the priority when scheduling, leave entitlements and mandated breaks are addressed.”

Summary of NRL Announcement

  • The deal, the biggest in Australian free to air television history, is worth up to $925 million and will take effect from 2018.
  • The NRL Telstra Premiership will be played over 25 weeks – instead of 26.
  • The number of live games shown on free to air television will increase from two to four.
  • A new State of Origin schedule with the second match in each series being played on a Sunday night as part of a stand alone weekend of representative football which will also feature Pacific Nation Tests
  • International Rugby League will be given a new priority and will be played in a dedicated window after the NRL Premiership season.
  • Due to the changing landscape the NRL will continue negotiations with the Pay TV and digital providers.
  • The NRL will regain control of the season schedule.
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