Under this agreement, NEC has acquired the exclusive Free-to-Air TV
rights to broadcast four premium live NRL 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.
NEC 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 NEC.
NEC’s average cost over the new rights period amounts to $185m per annum, inclusive of contra, which will be reduced if the NRL elects to grant pay simulcast rights for certain games.
According to Nine representatives, Rugby League fans will enjoy a vastly improved experience – four premium live games each week, more than doubling 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.
“Rugby League is part of Nine’s DNA. This is a transformational outcome for supporters, Rugby League and Nine, enabling viewers to see the best of the NRL, live and free, four 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,” David Gyngell, CEO of NEC, said.