Nine wins NRL rights for four more seasons
The Nine Network has secured the National Rugby League rights for the 2018 to 2022 seasons.
Under the agreement, Nine has acquired the exclusive Free-to-Air rights to broadcast four premium live games a week on each of Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons, as well as the Finals series, State-of-Origin, and other special event matches.
Nine has also acquired all free streaming rights for these games.
The National Rugby League may elect to grant the pay simulcast rights for certain games, but otherwise the live distribution of these games across any free visual media is exclusive to Nine.
Nine's average cost over the new rights period amounts to $185 million per year, inclusive of contra, which will be reduced if the NRL elects to grant pay simulcast rights for certain games.
Four premium live games each week will more than double live coverage to over 270 hours per season, all of which will be available free across Nine’s Free-to-Air television and digital media.
Nine chief executive, David Gyngell, said: “Rugby League is part of Nine’s DNA," he said.
"This is a transformational outcome for supporters, Rugby League and Nine, enabling viewers to see the best of the NRL, live and free, 4 days per week, anywhere, on any device.
"As the audience for television fragments, the value and marketing power of free, live premium sport across multiple media cannot be underestimated.”