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Rugby gets a $100m deal with Nine for broadcast rights

Business

Nine Entertainment will pay $100 million in cash and contra for the rights to televise Australian rugby union games and other matches over the next three years.

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The deal will pave the way for a new, premium sports station for Nine under Stan Sports. It will broadcast live and on-demand games and be offered to Stan customers from 2021.

Nine holds a two-year option on an extension of the deal.

It brings an end to the 25-year hold Fox Sports had on the game.

Nine said “select premium events” would remain on Nine’s free-to-air channels.

The deal will give Nine the rights to all Wallaby and Wallaroo test matches, the premier domestic and trans-Tasman competitions, including Super Rugby, international matches including New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina and all the NZ and SA domestic competitions.

There will also be one, live free-to-air game each week.

Nine shares were up almost 2 per cent this morning.

The company said the launch of Stan Sports would enable Nine to adopt a total television approach to sports as it offers extensive live and on-demand coverage which would be available on its streaming channels and free-to-air.

Nine said it was also looking at other opportunities for exclusive sports rights.

The deal brings an end to a period of turmoil for Rugby Australia after it sacked its chief executive Raelene Castle who started the move away from Fox Sports, which had been losing interest in covering rugby.

Rugby Australia boss Rob Clarke said the game looked forward to a new era with Nine.

“Rugby Australia is very excited about our new partnership with Nine Entertainment Co. and what’s in store for our great game over the next three years and beyond,” he said.

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