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NRL investigating international broadcast deals as competition continues

Discussion in 'NRL' started by Foreign Legion, Mar 16, 2020.

  1. Foreign Legion

    Foreign Legion First Grade

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    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/nr...global-sport-suspensions-20200315-p54a9y.html

    With LeBron James and co. in shutdown mode across the US, the NRL will launch "Operation make rugby league great again" in a bold move that could see the game exposed to millions of new viewers around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.

    This column can reveal that the NRL will on Monday open discussions with global sports media powerhouse ESPN about the potential of broadcasting games into the US and around the world after the sport declared it will continue the competition behind closed doors from next weekend.

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    NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and ARLC chairman Peter V'landys front a press conference on Sunday.CREDIT:AAP

    With the NBA, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League - as well as many college sports - suspending their seasons, ESPN is on the lookout for new content to fill its multi-channel network that is viewed across 200 countries around the world.

    ESPN director of international production, Sergio Verdu, is expected to liaise with NRL powerbrokers on Monday about the potential of having the likes of Kalyn Ponga and James Tedesco on television screens in new markets, which could also somewhat alleviate the NRL's predicted financial woes.

    "Everyone in the industry is trying to find live sport to show," Verdu told the Heraldfrom Connecticut on Sunday. "Everything is on the table right now. If you asked me a month ago if we'd be interested in [rugby league], it would have been an easy answer. But I can see people being far more receptive to the conversation.

    [​IMG]
    LeBron James' pursuit of another championship has been put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, with American sports broadcasters now looking for alternative content to fill the void.CREDIT:AP

    "Right now, with so many sports cancelling or postponing their competitions, there's a real lack of live events and we are looking into what's next for us and what kind of content we can provide."

    With most major sporting events around the globe on hold - including the English Premier League, Formula 1 and both the ATP and WTA tennis tours - rugby league has the opportunity to fill a huge gap in the sporting market and at the same time sell itself to the world.

    The NRL recently sold its international rights to Fox Sports with prospective broadcast arrangements funnelling through to the Fox UK and Fox US networks, as well as under the "Watch NRL" digital banner.

    The NRL knows that any potential deal with ESPN would require permission from Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany, such is the international rights deal in place.



    However, given the game's current predicament and the potential dire consequences around the code's finances, the NRL is hopeful their broadcast partner will be understanding of the opportunity that now presents itself.

    The international rights aren't exactly lucrative to the game, but aren't to be sneezed at either given they are believed to be worth more than the radio rights.

    Under the current international rights deal, Fox is currently obliged to show three live NRL games per round in the US.

    Given the time difference, eight delayed matches during more viewer-friendly timeslots could be far more appealing to the NRL, which for years has held ambitions of cracking into the North American market that now has the Toronto Wolfpack calling the continent home.

    [​IMG]
    Sonny Bill Williams has put rugby league on the map in Canada after signing a two-year deal with Toronto Wolfpack.

    Even if Foxtel knocks back the NRL in regards to the US, there are some markets without arrangements in place where ESPN has a strong presence. Discussions could also provide Fox with an opportunity to revisit its current rights, as it too deals with a shortage of live sports content.

    "All the broadcasters are waiting to see how this evolves and unfortunately it’s evolving every day," said Verdu, who is in Australia on business in October.

    "We started with playing behind closed doors and then tournaments started getting cancelled. Now we're waiting to hear next Tuesday if Euro 2020 could be cancelled. It’s difficult to see and forecast what is going to happen in near future. We’re all working towards every sport shutting down and making contingency plans around that.

    "The other day I saw cricket highlights on one of the main news shows we have and I don't think I've ever seen that before. Everyone is trying to find live sport that is still going around. I've spoken to people from all over the world who are having the same problem. Fortunately for us, we have a lot of talk shows, documentaries and evergreen content we can use."


    The other consideration the NRL has is not jeopardising the discussions it opened with major streaming services during a recent trip to the US undertaken by ARLC chairman Peter V'landys and NRL chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo.

    While those discussions are in their infancy, the NRL must consider the magnitude of the opportunity that could present itself should it remain one of very few sporting codes still playing.

    Verdu isn't deterred by the prospect of providing ESPN viewers with something different to what they are used to.

    "You have to consider that there will be a monetary issue and the opportunity for long future relationships that come into the conversations," he said.
    "This is my opinion and I could be wrong, but I think this could be something new for them [ESPN viewers].

    "In no way can I compare it to this, but in some ways we saw with the XFL [off season American Football league] that even being in the first season our numbers were amazing. People have some appetite for new sports. You can’t compare rugby league to the XFL but it’s something that people might want to look into."
     
  2. Vic Mackey

    Vic Mackey Referee

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    god let’s hope they didn’t watch the Eels dogs game as a test case
     
  3. Hello, I'm The Doctor

    Hello, I'm The Doctor First Grade

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    My big hope in this is that ESPN gets a taste of NRL through this association and decides to go all on during the next bidding process...

    With Disney+ opening in Aus, a flagship sport like NRL is how to get a lot of people subscribed quick.

    It worked for Austar/Foxsports, it can work again...
     
  4. Cactus

    Cactus Juniors

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    To explore this as a consequence of whats happening with the virus issue is a smart move.

    Cant say the same for Vlandy and his comments about gov hand outs though.
     
    Timbo, some11 and TheFrog like this.
  5. Twizzle

    Twizzle Administrator Staff Member

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    Being played in closed venues wont really provide much of an atmosphere for new viewers.
     
  6. Cactus

    Cactus Juniors

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    Perceptionally that wouldnt be a good look would it.

    Maybe if the broadcast identified to viewers that the sport is being played in empty stadium due to the pandemic it might alleviate that perception.
     
  7. Fangs

    Fangs Bench

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    Make the players from the other 14 teams sit in the crowd.

    Or house up 300 lucky footy fans who get a Magic year in North QLD to see all NRL games. Could shove the competition on a case of VB
     
    Vee likes this.
  8. TheFrog

    TheFrog Coach

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    I suspect we're going to see different camera strategies from the networks, so that shots of the stands are reduced to a mimimum or are out of focus. Maybe canned crowd noises too. Maybe even virtual crowds.
     
    wibble likes this.
  9. Twizzle

    Twizzle Administrator Staff Member

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    yeh, I'm not saying we dont do it, it would be great exposure for RL but I guess any new viewers will just need to get over the lack of atmosphere, canned audience would be pretty lame I reckon
     
    some11 likes this.
  10. Babyface O'reilly

    Babyface O'reilly Bench

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    They artificially put ads on the turf now so yeh, why not crowds
     
    GongPanther and blue bags like this.
  11. axl rose

    axl rose Bench

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    They shut down videos on youtube of Americans and other potential fans reacting to hits and trys and now they want to open the game up to a new audience?
     
  12. Quicksilver

    Quicksilver Juniors

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    Blow up dolls in seats.

    Then just this audio over the loudspeakers

    OOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo

    When the wind comes up you'll probably get a few streakers.
     
    Brutus and wibble like this.
  13. Cactus

    Cactus Juniors

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    And then at the end of each period (half or quarters) they can have one doll (random) in the crowd automatically spring a leak and whiz up into the air like a pricked balloon.
     
    some11 and Quicksilver like this.
  14. Babyface O'reilly

    Babyface O'reilly Bench

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    The players will go nuts
     
    Quicksilver likes this.
  15. johns_reds

    johns_reds First Grade

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    Bunnies do the crowd noises through the speakers already
     
    taipan and some11 like this.
  16. Quicksilver

    Quicksilver Juniors

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    We all know that there's no crowd so those noises will be unbelievable.

    Just do novelty sounds like farts, horns and whirly noises.
     
    sensesmaybenumbed and Dragon_psa like this.
  17. blue bags

    blue bags Juniors

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    yes billboards, fencing, on ground, computer graphics , thats right do the crowd, you could have any crowd from anywhere around the world ,
    you could gave crowds from EPL like Liverpool fans singing, in red

    you could get crazy soccer fans from Russia , skinheads, with flares

    even pack titans ground for the 1st time lol
     
    Babyface O'reilly likes this.
  18. Quicksilver

    Quicksilver Juniors

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    I don't see why the crowds need to be human. Could be aliens. Or dogs.
     
    Babyface O'reilly likes this.
  19. Cactus

    Cactus Juniors

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    Do the sounds of running water. A lovely meandering flowing creek through a forest.

    Then pan a camera over to a squating doll in a Qld jersey taking a leak onto a seat.
     
    txta2 and blue bags like this.
  20. blue bags

    blue bags Juniors

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    like bulldogs crowds


    all seats , seatpissers in qld matches . dirty f canetoads
     

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