Ten May Pursue Nines TV Rights To Better Chances Of Winning 2018 NRL Rights
Australia's Channel 10 may pursue the National Rugby League’s Auckland Nines "to build on the success of its summer ratings bonanza, cricket’s T20 Big Bash League," according to Wilson & Massoud of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The short form of rugby league "made its debut last weekend with strong viewer figures on Fox Sports." Ten’s potential interest in the Nines "could also be a tentative first step after the network’s narrow failure to win" the NRL’s A$1B TV rights contract 18 months ago. Industry observers believe that "telecasts of the truncated version of league could ultimately provide the perfect preparation for a successful bid" when the NRL’s A$1B overall rights deal with Nine and Fox Sports expires at the end of '17. A source close to the network said, “Channel 10 only just missed out on rugby league a few years ago, and they aren't giving up. They might not be able to get the whole rights until 2018, but they believe they can start with the Nines" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 2/20).