Nine, Seven, Ten And Fox Battling For NRL TV Rights
Negotiations over the National Rugby League TV rights "have heated up," with representatives of the Nine, Seven, Ten and Fox networks making "critically important presentations" to the NRL on Friday, followed by further talks over the weekend, according to Greg Prichard of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. According to TV industry insiders, Channel Seven is "making a strong run at taking the free-to-air rights away from long-time holder Channel Nine in the new deal." One industry insider told the Herald: "Seven would be the favourite at the moment. Nine would be the underdog, but don't write them off. They're still in this battle." A "clear indication of how keen Seven is to win the contract" is that its Chair Kerry Stokes was "at the league on Friday, along with the usual negotiators for his network." Insiders said that at this stage, there is "not much difference in the money being offered" by the free-to-air networks. It is believed that after the latest talks the overall rights deal has a "very good chance" of reaching $1B. One insider said: ''It looks like being a billion, or very close to that, over five years. The game is in very good shape, and that is being reflected in the level of interest from the networks" (SMH, 8/20).