Fox in the NRL Hen House

0 Submitted by on Wed, 11 November 2015, 14:09

So the NRL want to give Pay TV a Friday night game beginning at 6pm? This has disaster written all over it.

As part of the ongoing negotiations for NRL rights for Pay TV, the NRL want to broadcast a game at 6pm on a Friday night. Surely the game can do better than this?

Who benefits from this? New Zealand maybe but that’s about it. Who on the eastern seaboard would watch an NRL game broadcast at 6pm and which teams would be given than time slot and which teams would be happy with it?

In the early rounds, daylight saving will still be in effect and the first month of the season is the hottest of the year for Rugby League teams. Brisbane and Townsville at 5pm are sweltering until mid May (and Townsville pretty much all year round) and they are the primary target markets along with the aforementioned New Zealand, which I can partially understand. Melbourne may be an option as AAMI Park is only a stones throw from the city. Why not throw in Canberra and Newcastle and see how they rate?

This idea may work in the cooler months and if Brisbane had a second team. Sydney will not be given any early Friday night games due to traffic constraints, which is logical if you know how hideous Sydney’s traffic can be any time of day.

Also, due to Queensland not wanting to upset the cows, there is no daylight savings in place, which means any game north of the border will have to be played at 5pm local time for the first 4-5 rounds. Perth will get the games at 3pm. Not a major issue I know, but still worth mentioning. Not the ideal way to try and capture a potential new audience, televising the game while everyone is at work.

I’d like to see how the crowd numbers go for a whole season not after the novelty wears off. I bet the tipsters and fantasy league lovers will be against this. Knowing they had up until kickoff on a Friday night to get their tips in or place their bets was a luxury. Now, having it all done by 6pm may be a lot tougher. I wonder if all the betting agencies are loving this move? I doubt it.

Monday night football has been canned as a result of Fox Sports getting Super Saturday back and this is a wise move. Only the ground cleaners could be seen on a Monday night and the NRL’s attempt to emulate the NFL was a massive white elephant. We don’t have the population or the choice of one team towns to make Monday Night Football successful like it is in America.

The game may end up with more money as a result of this deal, but are the fans being looked after because those without Pay TV don’t get to see the 6pm game at all, just highlights on the news…if they are lucky.

I’m not sure who wins here besides Fox Sports and News Ltd and from where I sit, that’s not a win for the fan. Far from it.



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Avid Canberra Raiders and Denver Broncos fan. Father of two and lover of all...well, not quite.

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