Raiders want greater NRL TV recognition
Resurgent Canberra are hoping to bankroll their NRL finals success into a healthier slice of the free-to-air TV pie in 2013.
Following a 2012 in which they appeared on Channel Nine just twice during the regular season, the Raiders are adamant they deserve more exposure and recognition after emerging as one of the most exciting teams in the NRL in their unexpected charge to the semi-finals.
Raiders' boss Don Furner has requested his club host high-rating St George Illawarra in one of the marquee Thursday night games that both Channel Nine and the NRL have scheduled to kick off the new $1 billion broadcast deal in the first month of the new season.
On the back of their entertaining brand of football and a roster that boasts some of the most exciting names in the game, Furner said it was time Canberra received greater free-to-air recognition - and vital exposure for the club's sponsors.
"We want something that amounts to our fair share," Furner said.
"We are looking for some sort of cooperation from the NRL and it will be interesting to see how it pans out.
"I understand the commercial realities of it all and I know Channel Nine paid a lot of money for the rights but there has to be a better way.
"We had two games on Channel Nine last year and, if it goes that way again, we could win 19 out of our first 19 games and still not be on free-to-air TV during the first 20 rounds next year."
Newcastle hosted the Dragons in the round-one opener this year on a Thursday night and Furner said the Raiders were keen play the joint venture club in Canberra on a Thursday night in round three or four in 2013.
"The only Channel Nine game we had at home this year was against the Bulldogs (in round 23) that was a reward for how we were going," Furner said.
"We are hoping the NRL will apply the same sort of thinking to the new draw given how well we went at the end of last season."
The NRL will release the draw next week for the first 20 rounds of the new season. The round-one Thursday night season opener is tipped to be between arch-rivals Sydney Roosters and South Sydney.
Furner said he hoped the Raiders' Channel Nine allowance would be raised to six games in 2013, starting with a Thursday night jewel which would be an early-season boon to the club, its sponsors and fans.
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