Devil in detail of digital deal
So, the NRL's new digital deal looks set to partially fund a salary cap of about $5.8million and each club's marquee player allowance is to be increased.
Sometimes the independent commission gives the impression of being the proud curator of a domino show. You walk in and the room is dark, you have a whinge about doing your cash at the turnstile, and then the lights come on and someone flicks the first bit of square plastic.
All around, there's that sound falling dominoes make as thousands of the blighters go down, colours change, little bridges are crossed and balls are tossed in the air. There is a toy train set involved …
There was a glimpse of this management style recently when the commission needed some extra cash for the club grants and a fifth Thursday night game for Channel Nine materialised out of nowhere, generating a handy $30 million upfront payment. It seems that if the commission has added expenses, it wants to pay for them without touching central funds.
We should all be happy we can watch games live on our mobile devices, like sports fans elsewhere in the world. We should all be pleased that players are not going to boycott the All Stars game.
And rumours that the NRL is about to take on at least two, maybe more, full-time journalists for its digital division will be greeted with tears of joy from those of us in the terminally ill industry.
One aspect in the slew of announcements over the past 48 hours intrigues me, however. NRL.com and Telstra will have ''exclusive'' rights to post-match media conferences. I dearly hope they mean ''exclusive live'' rights. After all, who's going to ask questions at a post-match media conference if they can't use the answers?
Last year, when North Queensland coach Neil Henry erupted about refereeing decisions in his team's preliminary semi-final loss to Manly, Telstra lodged a copyright complaint about my media conference video on YouTube. There were almost 200 other media conference videos on my channel they had no concern about. Maybe their concern was that 4000 people had watched this one.
I lodged a counter claim, stating I shot the video myself and was an accredited journalist. The video was restored more than a week later when the drama had died down.
A media conference is an open forum, although under the NRL's rather generous TV contracts, only rights-holders can broadcast live from inside a venue. I just hope the NRL has not sold Telstra something that is not the NRL's to sell.