Add-ons set to take NRL rights price up to $1.25b

Add-ons set to take NRL rights price up to $1.25b

THE ARL Commission is tipped to match the AFL's $1.25 billion media rights deal once it completes a broadcast agreement in New Zealand and sells the online and mobile rights.

The Herald has been told those deals may include a ''season-pass'' arrangement similar to the deal announced yesterday by the National Basketball League that will enable fans to subscribe to matches on a new website.

Other sports, including NBA, NFL, MLB and the AFL, sell similar packages to allow fans to watch either their team or all matches online.

''Watch this space, because I think that is a real opportunity going forward,'' a source close the negotiations said. ''That is where this deal could be even better than it already looks. There is actually a fair bit to go.''

The broadcast deal announced last week was worth $1.025 billion, with Channel Nine contributing $475 million for three free-to-air matches per week and Fox Sports paying $550 million for five games on pay TV. Fox Sports is also able to offer Foxtel subscribers the ability to watch games on personal computers, mobile phones and tablets.


However, the ARL Commission is negotiating to sell the online and mobile rights with a number of companies, including Telstra, which paid the AFL $153 million for those rights.

Former AFL commissioner Graeme Samuel, who was a consultant to the ARLC in the broadcast deal, said there were great opportunities for the game in those areas.

''There are so many opportunities opening up there with new technology,'' Samuel told the Herald. ''I don't think it necessarily means the traditional participants in this area are going to be the ones going forward.

''There are just so many parties who are there and so many different opportunities.''

Samuel said the ARLC negotiating team had done a good job and praised the interim chief executive, Shane Mattiske.

''It got to a really good outcome in the end but the team worked so well together,'' he said. ''We sat around the table and we would toss up ideas. It was so constructive.

''I think the outcome that they got was the very best deal the league could have done. I think it is fair to say that the league has done a very good deal and they should have been delighted.''

Brad Walter is Sports Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald

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