The NRL is in negotiations for a $1.7 Billion TV deal (from 2018-2022), with footy played from Thursdays to Sunday, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Thursday Night Football will be a permanent fixture, replacing the Friday night double-header, which has never been that popular with one delayed game and the live game different in NSW and Queensland.
The Thursday night game will be lucrative for Nine as they can start The Footy Show at full-time, with an analysis of the game and plenty of time pumping up the Friday game. Nine will get plenty of mileage from the “TWO BIG LIVE MATCHES” promotion.
One issue that needs to be addressed is Nine’s unbalanced scheduling. Brisbane have the lion’s share of Friday night games, while lower profile clubs (like Canberra) are lucky to get a handful of free-to-air games. Friday night is Nine’s big rater, so these decisions are purely commercial, but still unfair.
Monday Night Football is likely to be scrapped. The fxture has never been popular , especially for the North QLD Cowboys, whose fans travel from all over Queensland for their home games, hence the regular Saturday evening timeslots.
To compensate, FOX is aiming to show every game live, with at least three live games on free-to-air.
There will be one game each Thursday and Friday night, and three Saturday (afternoon, twilight, evening) and three Sunday.
Rugby league is suited to TV, so it makes sense to maximise the viewing potential.
The clubs are set to benefit from this deal, with revenue poured into struggling clubs. Annual grants will rise to $12 million for all 16 clubs and $11 million for the salary cap.