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Volume 6 No. 235
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National Rugby League Clubs 'Uneasy' About Cost Of New Digital Media Service

National Rugby League clubs "have issues with the game plan for the governing body's beefed-up digital media service to be unveiled next year," according to Will Swanton of THE AUSTRALIAN. The revamped nrl.com.au website will start from Jan. 1. It is designed to be the "go-to service for league news." Clubs have been told it will be a "centralised newsroom" modeled after the Australian Football League and Cricket Australia websites. Negotiations are continuing between the NRL and the clubs that are being asked to "fork out" a combined A$20M ($15.9M) "for a service they have reservations about." One club official said that clubs were "uneasy" about the NRL's multi-million dollar venture. The NRL pledged A$150M ($118.9M) to the project over seven years. The league "plans to distribute the same centralised news to all the club websites." One club official said on Sunday that supporters of one club were unlikely to "give a stuff" about news from another club but their team's website "will be clogged with it." The "complications are numerous." The first is that if the NRL wants exclusive access to its players on occasions, "most of the elite players already have individual contracts with media companies such as Fox Sports." The second complication is that it is "near-impossible to be an independent reporter when you are working for a governing body" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/21).