Nine and Fox Sports in record A$1BN broadcast deal

Louise Duffy | 22-08-2012

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARL) has announced a five-year broadcasting agreement with Nine and Fox Sports Australia worth more than A$1 billion (664 million).

The gigantic deal is made up of A$925 million in cash, plus an added A$100 million in advertising, and could be boosted further with rights to broadcast games in New Zealand, while mobile and online broadcast rights are still to be negotiated, according to the Press Association.

The record deal is a major boost for rugby league in Australia, with payments to players expected to soar, making it more difficult for rugby union and the AFL to poach the NRL's biggest stars.

ARL Commission chairman John Grant said: "The whole package is a simply fantastic result for rugby league.

"The cash that comes from the agreement, used wisely, will provide the funding base for sustainably growing our game from the grass roots to the elite levels."

Nine boss David Gyngell added: "The players and clubs are all going to get a good drink out of this, there is nothing surer than that.

"We stepped up and put as much money into rugby league as we possibly could. Salary caps are going to increase and the grants to the clubs are going to improve.

"The most important thing is that with the windfall for the game we grow the roots and get more people playing it and fend off the AFL in western Sydney and in Queensland and push back in the traditional rugby league areas of Queensland, Gold Coast and Sydney."

As part of the deal, Nine and Fox Sports will provide coverage of the Four Nations Series, which is due to resume in 2014 after next year's World Cup.