Channel Nine CEO David Gyngell Says NRL Should Not Change State Of Origin Schedule
Channel Nine CEO David Gyngell's view is that Rugby League's State of Origin comprises 20% of the game's "overall value," and "until an alternative is proposed that would increase revenue," the National Rugby League "should not consider altering the scheduling of Australia's biggest sporting event," according to Brad Walter of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Gyngell rejected suggestions his network "was inflexible on the scheduling and said he was sympathetic to clubs who lost players because of Origin duty or had to rely on them to back up just days after the fierce contests." Gyngell: "I am only inflexible until I hear a better idea and I think my inflexibility can actually protect the growth of the game. If it ain't broke then don't try to fix it." An "increasing number of officials, coaches and players have complained this season about the impact Origin has on the stars of the game and their clubs," with attendances and ratings down for matches involving "depleted teams." Gyngell, however, said clubs were "being compensated by the doubling of annual grants" since the new A$1B ($940M) TV deal began last year, "and a significant reason Nine was prepared to pay so much was because of Origin" (SMH, 6/23).