Stick to your day job Crowe: NRL chief - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stick to your day job Crowe: NRL chief

By Liam FitzGibbon 09/07/2008 07:12:49 PM Comments (0)

NRL chief executive David Gallop has told South Sydney co-owner Russell Crowe to stick to his day job.

The NRL hit back at claims by the Hollywood superstar that rugby league is being shortchanged by an unfair television deal compared to the AFL.

Crowe said on a Sydney radio station he felt league was "the poor cousin" in Australian sport and the NRL must negotiate a better deal in the future.

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.

But Gallop defended the current deal, saying it had helped grow the competition.

"Russell Crowe is a great actor but is in no position to speak on this issue with any level of expertise," Gallop said in a statement.

"People should remember that we brought forward new revenue to the game before the previous contracts expired and this allowed us to bring the Gold Coast Titans into the competition.

"The strategic importance of this move is now being realised as one looks at the plans of the other codes trying to expand to the Gold Coast."

Gallop said it was unfair to draw comparisons between the AFL and NRL's television deals.

"There are also some facts people have to accept in relation to the AFL aside from the peculiar circumstances of their last period of negotiation," Gallop said of the intensely-competitive bidding between free-to-air commercial networks for the AFL rights.

"The AFL has teams in more states and draws crowds more than twice the size of ours.

"Television is sold on the basis of five capital-city audiences and we do not have that footprint.

"It also isn't a solution for us to simply throw a team in those areas where we have limited interest in our code.

"Also, the AFL has an extra game on free-to-air, its games go for 20 per cent longer than a league game and allow for greater advertising revenue."

Gallop said he was confident the game would grow television but said the process would not be helped by "people misrepresenting the current situation".

Crowe said on Monday he felt rugby league had the better television product to sell.

"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.

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