We may have enjoyed a close opening Bledisloe Cup encounter the other day.
But the off-field action is still edging closer to its peak.
That would be who will broadcast the rugby games in Australia from 2021-25.
Optus and Channel 7 are not interested in this race.
ABC and SBS do not have significant funds to join in.
And we have heard nothing from Amazon in recent times.
Time to look at the candidates right now that are still in contention.
All we know that they want to keep airing the Wallabies games.
It is the only thing that rates well amongst national interest.
They submitted a formal bid to Rugby Australia weeks ago.
But their bid is slightly lower than the $3.5 million they paid per annum from 2016-2020.
That is all that we have heard from them, which will likely partner with Foxtel.
I do not know whether or not Ten will be happy to expand into Super Rugby AU.
However, they would find it risky to invest in a format that continually changes.
They are still interested in the running as seen on the news for many weeks now.
This time Nine would want the whole lot at $30 million a year between 2021-2025.
It will be a similar strategy to what they acquired in the past.
Just look at their success with Netball & Australian Open Tennis.
Nine would not only take over from Ten as the Free TV partner of the Wallabies.
They will promise to expand into Super Rugby AU with one Live game on Saturday Nights, including Finals.
And the rest would shove it on their subscription streaming platform, Stan.
The only arch-rival that is standing against Nine is Foxtel.
They may have walked away a few times before.
That is because of Raelene Castle before she resigned as CEO for Rugby Australia in late April.
But Foxtel is not out of the race just yet with a bid of $35-40 million per annum.
It is so far the highest bid out of this upcoming TV rights race.
Exclusivity will still stay the same with every Club/Domestic Rugby & Wallabies games LIVE.
And they have bundled with Ten to try & stay on for another five years.
It will be tough to see a two-horse race towards the finish line.
You have Channel 9, offering $30 million a year to prize the whole lot.
Then compare to the Foxtel bid of $35-40 million per annum.
Do not forget Network 10 is packaged inside Foxtel to retain the Free TV portion.
I would forget about who pays the most & give it to Channel 9.
Not only will they continue to gather national interest for the Wallabies.
But Nine will finally give that promise that we all waited for a long time.
They are willing to air Super Rugby on Free to Air TV, focusing on local & state derbies.
That will a great start to rebuilding this sport back to its former glory.
And forget about their past treatment of Rugby; give Nine a chance exclusively!