NRL eye grand final as TV cash cow - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL eye grand final as TV cash cow

02/10/2010 05:32:37 PM Comments (0)

The NRL grand final could be sold to television as a stand-alone game when a new broadcast deal is struck.

The league has already signalled that big games such as State of Origin could be auctioned as separate entities to maximise the income the sport generates.

The NRL's current television deals expire at the end of 2012.

Chief executive David Gallop says informal discussions with broadcasters have begun with more formal talks to get underway next year.

"Everything's possible at this stage," he told AAP.

"We're keen to have a clear auction of our rights in whatever form that presents the best result.

"We've said we're open to anything that gets us maximum exposure and maximum commercial return."

Gallop said Sunday's decider between St George Illawarra and the Sydney Roosters would have some affect on the rights negotiations.

"Ratings for your big games are very important but of more importance is your game's ability to deliver over a 30-week period and that's what rugby league's done in 2010," he said.

"We've exceeded expectation in terms of the viewership of the game and that points to the quality of the competition on a weekly basis.

"We expect massive numbers tomorrow.

"Clearly, being an all-Sydney final, we'll notice some differences from the last few years but we're ecstatic about how our game's travelling in terms of television results."

Gallop said there was no imperative to out rate the AFL grand final replay on the same weekend, with figures this week indicating the NRL led its rival in total audience numbers for the year.

"It's not necessarily about pipping them because there are a whole lot of variables," he said.

"We'll get an enormous audience and we'll be pretty comfortable with that, we won't be too worried about what they're doing."

Gallop's comments came as the NRL announced its new multi-million dollar headquarters will be built next to the Sydney Football Stadium.

The $17.4 million Rugby League Central building will house the NRL, expected to become an independent commission in the coming months, as well as the Australian, NSW and Country Rugby Leagues.

The federal government has committed $10.4 million to the project and the NSW government $1 million with completion expected in 18 months.

"The NFL's in Manhattan for a reason, because it's a high profile sport and it's looking to be in a prestigious location," Gallop said.

"In our view this is even better."

Gallop said a demand from NRL clubs that league's commission be finalised by November 1 remained a distinct possibility.

"There's progress being made, further talks (were) held this week," he said.

"I don't think anyone ever expected it to be the start date, more a date when the parties had reached agreement in principle and I think that's still realistic."

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