TV deal short-changes NRL, says Crowe - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

TV deal short-changes NRL, says Crowe

By Liam FitzGibbon 08/07/2008 07:41:39 PM Comments (0)

Hollywood star and South Sydney co-owner Russell Crowe believes rugby league is being short-changed by an unfair television deal compared to other codes.

Crowe, who attended the Rabbitohs' come-from-behind win over the Bulldogs on Monday night at ANZ Stadium, said he felt league was "the poor cousin" in Australian sport.

Rugby league's television deal is worth around $500 million over six years, compared to the AFL's which is worth $780 million over five years.

"I just don't think the game is balanced correctly with how the money the game can generate is divided," the Oscar-winning actor said in an interview on Sydney radio station Triple M.

"The TV deal we have - based on the figures of who watches the game - I don't think it's fair in comparison to what AFL can generate or other sports.

"We've got the greatest TV game but we're in the situation where we're the poor cousin when it comes to money and that's not good."

Crowe said the NRL must negotiate a better deal when the current one expired in 2012.

"But we'll work on that as we build to the next negotiation and it simply won't happen again," Crowe said.

On Monday night, the Rabbitohs completed a four-match winning streak for the first time since 1994 and Crowe said their recent form showed that the players' spirits had never dipped despite their poor start to the season.

He denied there had been a fallout between himself and fellow club owner Peter Holmes a Court, although he said he asked his colleague to stand aside as chief executive for the good of the club.

Holmes a Court is now on a two-month break and his future at Souths is uncertain with Nicholas Pappas and Shane Richardson assuming the day-to-day running of the club.

"There was no personal fallout, but at a certain point sometimes you've got to give someone a tap on the shoulder and say 'get someone else to take the ball this time'," Crowe said.

"Pete's going to have a break and going to be away for a couple of months doing other things and clear his head and regain some objectivity.

"One of the things that surprised him was that he always thought he could be, to a large degree, dispassionate.

"But that's never been the calling card of South Sydney.

"He came in the door and the next thing you know he's the one with the sleeves rolled up yelling abuse at the officials and creating his whole life around the team."

Crowe admitted he had been surprised at the size of the commitment since becoming a co-owner at the club but said he had no plans to turn his back on the Rabbitohs.

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