News Corp Australia has signed a five-year deal with the National Rugby League that will see its subsidiary Fox Sports show every NRL game of every round live, in high-definition and ad-free in 2016.
News Corp, Nine Entertainment and Telstra were brought together for the $1.8 billion deal that covers the 2018-2022 NRL seasons, but includes changes that will start from 2016.
Fox Sports’ offerings in 2016 will include exclusive broadcast of three Super Saturday games, a Sunday afternoon game and Monday Night Football.
Fox Sports also will launch a dedicated, 24/7 NRL channel in 2017 that will include comprehensive news coverage, analysis from “the game’s biggest names” and a new exclusive Friday night game, Super Saturday and Sunday afternoon game.
Fox Sport subscribers will have access to these services across TV, tablets and smart phones.
News Corp Australia chief executive Peter Tonagh said the deal affirms Fox Sports as the home of NRL.
“This is a truly outstanding deal that will, for the first time in the history of the game, give fans live coverage of every game each round. It’s a big win for the fans, and a big win for the clubs, and News is delighted to be a part of it,” Mr Tonagh said.
“I would like to thank the NRL, Nine Entertainment and Telstra for coming together to deliver such a terrific outcome for everyone.”
The deal will see Telstra remain naming rights partner of the NRL and digitally telecast the game on its mobile network, with highlights to be shown on the new Telstra TV platform in 2016.
Nine Network will live telecast games on free to air in 2016 on Thursday and Friday nights and Sunday afternoon.
The $1.8 billion deal is 70 per cent higher than the existing rights and is expected to bring $1.9 billion for the NRL following the sale of international and radio rights.