Rugby Australia has not struck a new broadcast deal with its local partner, Nine.
Rugby and media sources familiar with the talks, who spoke anonymously because they are confidential, said Nine offered just $29 million per annum for a new deal, which includes the 2025 British and Irish Lions Tour as well as men’s World Cup and women’s World Cup in 2027 and 2029 respectively. Waugh and Nine declined to comment on the discussions.
That figure is similar to what was offered under the previous deal signed with Nine and streaming service Stan in November 2020. Rugby Australia is obliged to exclusively negotiate with Nine until the end of next year, but a failure to strike an early deal caused a major issue.
Interesting details in this wider Rugby Australia AFR piece today.
It had been reported Nine had renewed through to the end of 2025 although this piece indicates not (not saying it’s necessarily right/wrong), also indicates that RA would have the rights to 2027 and 2029 men’s and women’s World Cups to onsell themselves. Not necessarily incorrect (World Rugby may have given them to Rugby Australia when they awarded the hosting rights) but hard to know what the truth in this piece is.
The upcoming Rugby Australia broadcast rights was discussed at the top of 3AW’s Wide World of Sports last night, in which Sam McClure talked to The Roar website’s rugby union editor Christy Doran. Doran did mention the $29 million figure and Harvey Norman’s decision not to renew its sponsorship of Super Rugby Pacific. He said that Nine and Stan actually devalued what is worth of the current deal by only paying $29 million a year, and Super Rugby received little exposure on FTA TV.
And I think this was part of Fox’s strategy - ditch sports that they weren’t all that interested in spending big money on (in order to chase sports they were interested in) on the thinking that there is a good chance that some will come back seeking a deal with Fox (but on more amenable terms to Fox)