Optus not all in favour of Rugby Australia broadcast rights

Earlier than the RA broadcast rights talks restarted, Optus launched OS Health, a channel for subscribers with yoga and pilates, energy, core and high-intensity exercises that may be accomplished at dwelling. In August, 12 per cent of Optus Sport customers watched the content material. The health channel additionally skilled a big spike in minutes streamed after Melbourne entered stage 4 lockdown.

Optus’ absence from the official negotiating desk leaves RA with fewer selections for a broadcasting companion. Fox Sports activities, which has broadcast Tremendous Rugby since its inception in 1996, stays all in favour of rugby – notably Tremendous Rugby and Check matches. Amazon, which final week secured the rights to a one-off Eight Nations event in Europe, declined to touch upon whether or not it was concerned within the native tender course of.

In the meantime Community Ten, which is at the moment the free-to-air broadcaster for the Wallabies matches, did submit a proper expression of curiosity. Ten is the one business free-to-air broadcaster to formally enter talks, however sources have indicated the broadcaster is trying to pay lower than it at the moment does for the matches. Ten at the moment pays about $three.5 million a 12 months as a part of RA’s $285 million deal signed with the broadcaster, Foxtel and BSkyB in 2015.


Earlier this 12 months, RA rejected a suggestion from Foxtel’s sports activities community Fox Sports activities for the 2021-2025 rights which resulted in an open tender. Optus, which operates streaming platform Optus Sport, was in superior talks to purchase the rights, however they fell over when the pandemic hit. The telco supplier’s curiosity has subsided since then.

In that point the code has gone by way of a number of main modifications, together with the set up of latest chairman Hamish McLennan and interim chief govt Rob Clarke. Securing a brand new broadcast deal is likely one of the key priorities for RA because it appears to be like to safe monetary certainty for the code (the prevailing association with RA’s broadcast companions expires on the finish of the 12 months).

When RA put its broadcast offering out publicly last month, it gave bidders the choice to cherry choose totally different competitions and sorts of rugby content material. This features a mixture of present merchandise like Bledisloe Cup matches and Shute Defend and new merchandise equivalent to a ‘State of Union’ three-game sequence. RA has not supplied readability on what subsequent 12 months’s Tremendous Rugby season will appear to be.

The organisation has since introduced the Rugby Championship will run in Australia. Clarke stated the present broadcasters had been very excited by it. “I do know Fox and Ten will love the actual fact they’re getting such high quality rugby at the moment of the 12 months and can drive, I hope, some subscriptions and viewership for them,” he stated.

Sports activities codes are going through comparable pressures to tv broadcasters and telco suppliers because of the coronavirus disaster. Foxtel boss Patrick Delany stated earlier this month that the subscription television operator would only focus on acquiring TV rights to ‘tier-one’ sports moving forward.

Up to now this 12 months, Foxtel, 9 Leisure Co (proprietor of this masthead) and Seven West Media have secured reductions on present offers with the NRL and AFL. The broadcasters, which misplaced massive quantities of advertisers throughout the pandemic, argued a discount in matches and lack of crowds decreased the worth of the sports activities codes they broadcast. Seven is individually trying to terminate its contract with Cricket Australia.