ARU set to announce multi-million TV deal

Date published: December 16 2015

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The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) are set to announce a new broadcast rights deal worth more than AUS$275 million.

According to a Canberra Times report, the deal will see all Super Rugby matches shown live in Australia on Fox Sports and a Sunday morning replay on Ten Network.

The deal was first revealed in 2014 by Fairfax Media and has taken more than a year to complete because SANZAR had to negotiate 11 different broadcast deals before making an official announcement.

Apart from the Australian, New Zealand, South African and Argentine markets, there were also negiotiations for television rights deals in other regions including the United Kingdon, France, Italy, The Americas, Japan and the Middle East.

The ARU will announce an AUS$55 million plus per year deal on Wednesday. This will be up from the current agreement worth around $25 million per season, for broadcast rights to Super Rugby and Wallabies matches that will run from 2016 until 2020.

A large input from Britain's BSkyB for broadcast rights to Super Rugby as well as a stronger US dollar – the currency in which the deals were done – boosted the agreement.

The terms of the agreement states that Fox Sports will maintain live coverage for all Super Rugby matches, on-selling replay and rights to all Wallabies matches which will be simulcast on Ten.

From 2016, Super Rugby will have a free-to-air presence – Ten will have replay rights for one match on Sunday morning each week – for the first time since the start of the tournament in 1996. Super Rugby finals matches involving Australian teams will also be replaid on the free-to-air network.

ARU chief executive Bill Pulver told Fairfax Media last year that he had been "pretty damn nervous, with good reason" more than a year ago with rugby facing budgetary issues.

The new deal, as well as a AUS$10 million cost-cutting programme, willhelp to reduce financial concerns for the code.

"Australian rugby will be in a much better shape from 2016 through to 2020," Pulver told Fairfax Media in 2014.

"We've been through a broadcast negotiation that has typically been very tense … and we've resolved the negotiations around who gets what share and that's been a very co-operative negotiation," Mr Pulver told Fairfax Media last year. 

"I think it's been a very fair outcome for all unions. The final stage is to finalise the agreements."

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