CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
In what could very well be the life raft needed to save rugby union in Australia, the game’s governing body has today inked a broadcast deal with Nine Entertainment worth $100m over three years.
The ex-Sydney Private Schoolboys that maintain control over the grassroots spending are reportedly ‘furious’ at the prospect of working class Australians being able to once again take part in the game they play in heaven.
However, the transition to free-to-air was the only option for RA interim CEO Rob Clarke, who cited the growing membership numbers and TV audiences in rival codes.
“We thought, why not let the povo kids watch a few matches” said Clarke.
“Maybe they’ll even play”
“Maybe this is a way to make sure rugby union remains the number one sport for all the Kiwis moving to Western Sydney by the tens of thousands”
The free-to-air broadcaster have also unveiled a new sports streaming service, Stan Sport, which has the capacity of broadcasting live matches and replays on demand, like every other form of television media in 2020.
Rugby Australia says the partnership will “reboot the game at every level” – especially because Australians of all socio-economic backgrounds can now watch rugby union matches without having to let Rupert Murdoch send a tradesman over to drill a hole through their house and run a cable through it for the basement price of $119 per month.
The three-year begins in 2021, includes rights to Super Rugby, Super W, the Rugby Championship, the Bledisloe Cup and Wallaroos Tests. All Super Rugby games from next season will be available to subscribers of a new add-on package for Stan, while the Saturday night game will be shown on Channel Nine
This new deal marks the first time Super Rugby has been given a free-to-air platform, and may possibly help the game’s growth at a grassroots level, now that Australian kids can watch the matches without having to convince mum and dad to fork out a week’s worth of groceries on a weekly Foxtel subscription, or going to a mega-pub with enough screens to cater for rugby league and AFL fans.
In addition, New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa will be available on Stan while club rugby in New South Wales and Queensland – the Shute Shield, Hospital Cup, Mitre 10 and Currie Cup – is also included.
While Ex-Wallabies who played under Alan Jones appear disgruntled that the sacred game may now become popular with kids who have names like ‘Jayden’ and ‘Corey’ – the new deal has been described as a win for an organisation that doesn’t see too many wins.
RA is now moving to get the game played in more than just three elite private boys schools.