2021 Rugby Union Australia TV rights roundup on October 19-20 2020

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The race is still on regarding the next Rugby Australia TV package.

Whoever wins will get to sign the contract and produce content between 2021-2025.

Rugby World Cup & British & Irish Lions packages do not count as they come in separately.

This next TV deal is about bridging Rugby returning to its former glory in Australia.

We have the Wallabies, and Club Rugby games LIVE on Free TV.

But the only jigsaw puzzle is missing is Super Rugby.

It that one domestic competition that Foxtel held exclusively since 1996.

And no Free TV networks aired a single LIVE game so far into its 25-year inception.

Seven Network & Optus chose to say no with plenty of sports commitments to cover themselves.

Amazon did put their hand up for a couple of times before.

But it seems their bid is only just a pipeline at this stage.

It is still a two-horse race between Nine & Foxtel/Network 10.

Nine Network

Image Reference: Wikipedia

They have declared that $30 million a year is enough to put this bid on the map.

It will come in cash & free advertising should RA successfully select them.

Nine has given the first promise that we want to see in a long time.

That would be airing one Super Rugby game LIVE on Saturday Nights.

Every Wallabies game should continue on Nine as part of the anti-siphoning laws.

I am not sure about them airing Shute Shield & Club Championship games.

At least to say on Free to Air TV.

But there should be the State of Union on Nine because of its focus on the arch rivalry.

And the entire Rugby Australia package that Nine plans to acquire would air on Stan.

It is a subscription streaming platform where they would include sports like Rugby for the first time.

Network 10

Ten have just ended their contract with the Supercars Championship.

They still have the Melbourne Cup Carnival to air late next weekend.

The MotoGP is ongoing right now on 10 Bold.

And Ten still has the Formula One Australian Grand Prix early next year.

They are not planning to get rid of sports altogether anytime soon.

We all know that they want to keep airing the Wallabies games.

Every Free TV network would take this because it gathers national interest.

But Ten is only offering $1.5 million a year to retain this package.

That does not include airing Super Rugby AU games LIVE.

It is the only sweet spot they can find as part of a joint bid with Foxtel.

Foxtel

Image Reference: Wikipedia

They may be frustrated when Raelene Castle put this TV package race into the open market a few months ago.

But since Castle resigned from Rugby AU, Foxtel is back in the race.

The price they will pay around $35-40 million a year to retain the whole lot.

That includes every club, domestic and international matches.

Foxtel MUST share with Network 10 for the only Wallabies package by anti-siphoning law.

It certainly will not be higher than than the $57 million a year from 2016-20.

You see how they reduced their on-air roster at the start of this year.

Plus, they do not have a mid-week Rugby program themselves.

So it explains why Foxtel chose to bid that way.

And it is the only sport they broadcast exclusively for a quarter of a century.

Verdict

It is a two-horse race to see which bidder is better.

You either want to make the most money available.

Or else select someone who promises to bring more exposure on Free TV.

Rugby Australia should stop receiving those big paychecks from Foxtel.

They are aware of the Wallabies status nowadays.

And the Wallabies are nowhere near the All Blacks standard.

Let Rugby Australia go in a different direction.

It would mean giving the Nine Network a chance to grow the game.

Not only will they continue to gather national interest with the Wallabies.

But Nine will also promise one LIVE Super Rugby Free TV game on Saturday Nights.

They can have exclusive access via their streaming platform, Stan.

This revolutionary move would open for Stan to grab more sports rights.

It is the only way Rugby Union in Australia would close in on the All Blacks.

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