Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys is seen during a press conference at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club in Penrith, NSW, Thursday, October 31, 2019. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) NO ARCHIVING
Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V'landys is seen during a press conference at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club in Penrith, NSW, Thursday, October 31, 2019. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) NO ARCHIVING

NRL wants to seal TV deal in two weeks

ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has revealed rugby league's revised broadcast deal will be finalised in the next fortnight - clearing the final hurdle for the NRL's Project Apollo launch on May 28.

The Courier-Mail can reveal broadcast talks have reached an advanced stage, with V'landys moving to scupper talk of a feud with Channel 9, insisting the free-to-air giant will not walk away from rugby league.

Channel 9 boss Hugh Marks lobbed another grenade at the NRL on Tuesday when he told a Macquarie Australia Conference: "It is not a given that NRL has to be part of our future."

But V'landys has hit back, speaking with an authority and confidence that indicates he will broker a palatable deal with Channel 9 and Fox Sports to deliver the last critical piece in the NRL's relaunch puzzle.

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While the RLPA has reached a player-pay resolution, the premiership cannot start until the NRL, Channel 9 and Fox Sports shake hands on a revised TV rights deal that considers the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the value of this year's 20-round season.

Now V'landys is adamant he will clear all the necessary broadcasting hurdles to deliver the NRL to rugby league fans on May 28.

Asked if the broadcasting deal will be done within the next two weeks, V'landys said: "Yes. Absolutely. It will be resolved before May 28.

"I won't be talking figures through the media, but I am confident with our position and what we have put forward to the broadcasters.

"We have done a lot of hard work on this. I believe a resolution will be found."

 

 

 

Players are returning as the season edges closer. Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Players are returning as the season edges closer. Photo: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

Channel 9 have fired a series of salvos at the NRL in recent weeks, including last month's savage attack when the broadcaster lashed the code for wasting hundreds of millions of dollars under then CEO Todd Greenberg.

But with Greenberg having fallen on his sword, V'landys has taken charge, building a negotiating rapport with Nine's Marks and Fox's Patrick Delany.

It is why the ARLC chairman believes Channel 9 will not sever its 30-year relationship with rugby league.

 

 

Fans and players want some confidence for what’s left of this year. Photo: Liam Kidston
Fans and players want some confidence for what’s left of this year. Photo: Liam Kidston

 

 

"No, I don't believe that (Channel 9 quitting) will happen," V'landys said. "I am not worried one bit about Nine walking away.

"I am relaxed because we have a legally binding contract (which expires at the end of 2022).

"I am not concerned about his or Channel 9's statements. Look, Hugh has a clearly defined strategy (saving money for Channel 9) and he is implementing it, which I understand.

"We have had some good conversations and I will have more good conversations with Hugh moving forward.

"Whichever way it goes, we will be fine."

Gold Coast Titans chairman Dennis Watt said NRL clubs are sweating on the broadcast deal being rubber-stamped.

"The players have been sorted but as clubs, we are all in the dark," he said.

"Until the broadcast deal is done, the clubs have no idea what our financial model will be to get us through the season."

Originally published as NRL wants to seal TV deal in two weeks


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