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Is Nine Set To Lose NRL As Rugby Union Implodes On Stan

Months of losses by the NSW Waratah’s and two big losses in a row by Australia against the New Zealand All Blacks does not bode well for Nine Entertainment Stan, who after forking out $100M for the rights to Rugby Union in Australia are now having problems holding onto an audience that is switching off in droves.

Nine Entertainment are also desperate to hold onto their NRL rights.

Last night Australia surrendered the Bledisloe Cup for a 19th year in a row as the All Blacks inflicted a crushing 57-22 defeat in Australia in Auckland.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 08: Steam rises from a scrum during the round 17 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Brumbies at Bankwest Stadium on June 08, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Stan who are desperate to take on Foxtel in the sports market, are now facing a bleak year ahead, with many traditional Rugby Union followers now turning to the NRL, with Foxtel reporting record subscribers for their Kayo Sports App.

According to several people on Sydney’s North Shore a traditional Rugby Union heartland many diehard fans of Australian Rugby, are cancelling their Stan subscription, with several telling ChannelNews today that the code has become “predicable” and “boring”.

Last night New Zealand scored two five-pointers from intercepts and another six in all-too-easy fashion to ruin Australian hopes of breaking a 35-year Eden Park hoodoo and winning on Kiwi soil for the first time in two decades.

Rugby Union is not the only problem child for Nine Entertainment, ChannelNews understands that Nine management are concerned that they won’t be able to hold onto their NRL broadcast rights with the network facing challenges from both the Seven and Ten networks who are both chasing the rights to the NRL along with Foxtel.

Nine is believed to be offering $750 Million for the rights with the network also keen to try and get the streaming rights for Stan, which is held by Foxtel and is tipped to given to Foxtel in the future.

The Ten network that is owned by US network CBS Viacom also want the streaming and the free to air rights for their new Paramount + service which went live in Australia this week.

Observers claim that the Nine coverage of NRL has become old and stale. The game hasn’t really been a priority since footy tragic CEO David Gyngell quit the network in 2016 claims The Daily Telegraph.
The NRL earlier this year complained to the Nine Network during the Australian Open tennis coverage about the amount of promotion rugby union on Stan sport was getting.

Former chief executive Hugh Marks earlier this year slammed the NRL and the state of the game … then negotiated a cheaper TV deal for the remaining two years of the network’s contract claims the Daily Telegraph.

“This has not been forgotten” said one NRL insider.

They also said, “The Rugby Australia deal consisted of a large amount of contra, it has not delivered for the network who are struggling on several fronts”.

Peter Sterling remembers his exit from The Footy Show. “I rode off set on the back of a donkey,” he said with a laugh. “And that was it.”

Questions have also been swirling around the departure of NRL veteran player and Nine Network NRL commentator Peter Stirling.

Stirling claims he retired despite having a year left on his contract.

In a Sydney Morning Herald story, a publication that is owned by Nine Media, Stirling was quoted as saying “I certainly haven’t been gagged,” he said.

“I see my retirement as old news because it’s something that I spoke to [Channel Nine] management about a couple of months ago. When you see headlines with quotation marks [saying] I’ve been gagged – now that didn’t come from me and hasn’t come from management. I haven’t spoken to anyone about doing any coaching at the Eels, which somebody reported. My relationship with Parramatta is very special to me.

“I’m retiring. I’m not looking for more work. That conjecture disappointed me. I have another year on my contract at Nine and they asked would I reconsider. I’m also not leaving to open up things for younger people; they can make their own way. It’s purely a personal decision that it is the right time to walk away from something that has given me absolutely everything. It’s now the right time to give everything elsewhere.”

 

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