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SBD Global/August 10, 2012/Media

The Australian Rugby League Sets No Deadline For Broadcast Deal

The Australian Rugby League Commission is "approaching what is being termed the 'struggle' stage of the broadcast rights negotiation," according to Glenn Jackson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. ARLC Chair John Grant has raised the prospect of "no new deal being signed by the time money from this contract dries up." In the pursuit of the "right outcome," Grant said that "all possibilities had been explored," and a new deal is expected by Nov. 1. He added that "the game was sustainable even if the windfall from the new deal were delayed." Grant said, "It would be nice to have all i's dotted, all t's crossed and money flying by the first of November, which is the end of the current broadcast rights. But if that doesn't happen, we can sustain ourselves for some considerable time after that. We've got to get the right outcome." If there are delays, there are implications for the clubs. Some players might "hold off signing long-term with their clubs, as they wait for a concrete idea of the money on offer." Grant is also prepared to be "patient about the search for a new CEO, despite the public thirst for a quick appointment." He also raised the prospect of a short-term boss (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/10). In Sydney, Brent Read reported that "the process hasn't been helped by the Olympic Games, which stalled negotiations for a fortnight as the networks' big players headed to London." However, they have begun in earnest again and Grant remains optimistic the game "will get its golden pay day." Grant said, "You can't put timing on a negotiation that is going to take a number of parties to come to terms." The "magical figure" is $1B, although that may be conservative if the commission decides to look for a longer deal than the expected five years. Grant confirmed that "the length of the next deal was flexible" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/10).
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