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Thread: Foxtel lodges bid with Rugby Australia for broadcast rights

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    Foxtel lodges bid with Rugby Australia for broadcast rights

    Foxtel lodges bid with Rugby Australia for broadcast rights

    By Zoe Samios
    October 1, 2020 — 6.31pm

    Foxtel has made an offer to broadcast rugby union next year as it looks to continue its two-decade long relationship with the code, which is also in talks with Nine Entertainment Co.

    The broadcaster missed the deadline for formal expressions of interest for the rights in early September but continued to discuss ways to work together.

    Industry sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Foxtel submitted a bid this week. Foxtel had been paying between $30 million to $40 million a year but wanted to renegotiate the price. It has already secured a discount on its rights for the AFL and NRL and is trying to renegotiate its deal with Cricket Australia. Foxtel and Rugby Australia declined to comment.

    The industry sources said Foxtel's offer was for the rights to what it currently broadcasts - the Super Rugby, the National Rugby Championship and Wallabies Tests - at a similar price to what it previously paid. It is unclear whether Foxtel is prepared to trial new formats of the game, such as State of Union - a tournament similar to the NRL's State of Origin.

    Foxtel, Ten and BSkyB are at the end of a $285 million five-year deal with RA signed in 2015. Securing a new deal is crucial for the code as it provides financial certainty and a large amount of RA's revenue comes from the money from broadcasters. The code is also trying to secure a new sponsor after Qantas ended its 30-year-long relationship last week.

    A successful bid by Foxtel would put an end to a tumultuous period between the News Corp-controlled pay TV company and RA. The broadcaster, which runs Fox Sports, offered to sign a new five-year deal late last year but discussions fell apart over the pricing. At the time, it looked as though Foxtel was prepared to sever the lengthy relationship.

    Former RA boss Raelene Castle took the offer to market and telco Optus came close to signing a deal before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

    Foxtel's bid follows an offer from Network Ten to broadcast the Wallabies Tests. International Tests played in Australia and New Zealand, and all matches of the rugby World Cup that involve Australia, must be broadcast on free-to-air television under anti-siphoning laws. The free-to-air broadcaster, which holds the rights, bid for them again but offered less than its current payment of about $3.5 million a year. The length of the deal and the potential to pick up new game formats are still on the cards.

    Should the two bids succeed, rugby fans would experience little change to the way the sport is broadcast, but there may be others looking to secure a deal. Nine, the owners of this masthead, is still in talks with the code about whether it can make a deal work and is watching the negotiation process closely.

    Amazon, which recently secured the rights to a one-off Eight Nations tournament in Europe, previously declined to comment on whether it was involved in the local tender process. Amazon Prime's local boss Arno Lenior was head of marketing at Samsung when it became the major sponsor of Ten's Sochi Winter Olympics. Hamish McLennan, former Ten chief executive and current chair of RA, secured the Sochi deal.

    Industry sources previously said Amazon Prime was interested in the rights. Optus, once considered the front-runner, did not express a formal interest in the revised broadcast rights package when it was released last month.

    The news comes as New Zealand announced it will reprise the domestic Super Rugby Aotearoa competition in 2021 without Australian or Pacific islands teams.

    New Zealand Rugby had hoped to include a team from the Pacific islands for next year's tournament and invited expressions of interest from Australia. However, NZR chairman Brett Impey said the pandemic had shelved those plans.

    "COVID has forced us to think domestically for next year," Impey said. "Given the success of Super Rugby Aotearoa, it became a no-brainer that we do something similar in 2021."

    with Reuters

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-u...01-p5613w.html

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    Interesting that the NRC gets a mention.

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ham105 View Post
    Interesting that the NRC gets a mention.
    That’s good news.

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    IF RA doesnt want it - and FOXTEL does - who wins?

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    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ham105 View Post
    Interesting that the NRC gets a mention.
    I suspect that the NRC is relatively cheap content (3-4 cameras, local cameramen, low overheads)

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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    IF RA doesnt want it - and FOXTEL does - who wins?
    Foxtel

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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    IF RA doesnt want it - and FOXTEL does - who wins?
    No-one, as RA then continues to ignore its potential and half-arse the whole thing...

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    Judging by the way Foxtel have been spamming me 3 or 4 times a day about US sports I have little or no interest in; they are desperate to hang on to subscribers. This annoyance just highlights how much content has gone missing. Little wonder they want SR.

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