SANZAR lands rich rugby broadcast deal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

SANZAR lands rich rugby broadcast deal

By Adrian Warren 22/04/2010 05:29:56 PM Comments (0)

With a hefty new television deal in the bag, Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill says it's now up to the Super franchises to woo spectators and sponsors back with irresistible play.

SANZAR announced on Thursday a US$437 million deal over the 2011-15 period for a package including Super rugby and Test matches - an increase of 35 per cent in the value of TV rights.

O'Neill said the ARU's share of the broadcast rights revenue will increase by 30 per cent.

He confirmed the Nine network had secured free-to-air rights and will simulcast the Wallabies June Test and Tri-Nations matches in addition to broadcasting a weekly one-hour Super rugby highlights program.

O'Neill described the new deal as a good outcome considering negotiations took place during a global financial crisis and that some of the rugby prior to this year had not been particularly exciting.

The ARU boss said the new package would underpin the expanded 15-team Super tournament which gets underway next year with new Melbourne Rebels franchise giving Australia a fifth team, bringing into line with South Africa and New Zealand's representation.

O'Neill said the new deal was "absolutely vital" in financing the expanding Super tournament "financially, broadcasting, sponsorship and gate revenue are the three big drivers and this gives us a five-year deal with security and safety and a good return," O'Neill told AAP on Thursday.

"Now it's what we make of it, because the money is good at the broadcasting level, but with this new format, the sponsors and the crowds have to come back.

"The Super rugby franchises really have to grab this by the throat.

"Going from six local derbies to 20 ... when you think about the improvement in our backyard, this is manna from heaven for the Super rugby franchises to really produce games of attractive rugby that sponsors and crowds can't resist."

The new deal is a welcome boost for Australian rugby and its Super teams, given some recent sobering financial results.

The NSW rugby union earlier this week announced an operating loss of $459,000 for last year, while the ARU last week announced a net deficit of $279,000 for 2009, though it announced an operating surplus of $6.13 million before allocations to member unions.

O'Neill believes the new Super format which will lead to six finalists, with a minimum of one from each country, will help stimulate greater interest in the tournament.

He said his pre-season request for Australia's Super teams to produce more entertaining rugby had generally been embraced by players and coaches, with resurgent Queensland the standout performer.

"There's been some high points and some very attracting entertaining rugby, but at times some rugby that has been a bit too static," O'Neill said.

He said referees, coaches and players had bought into SANZAR's emphasis on law interpretations and as a result Australian patrons had seen "much better rugby this year"

"They will tell you when a game is crap and they will tell you the game is great and we've been getting a lot of really good feedback," O'Neill said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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