NRL in 'landmark' deal with Fox Sports for international streaming service
Australia’s National Rugby League has signed what it described as “landmark international rights deal” with Fox Sports Australia, the pay-television broadcaster, to launch a new live streaming service for international fans to be called ‘Watch NRL’.
Starting with the 2018 NRL Telstra Premiership, fans living abroad (excluding Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Territories) will be able to watch matches of the Premiership live, along with the Holden State of Origin Series, Australian men's and women's international matches played at home soil and Intrust Super Cup matches.
The agreement follows Fox Sports’ partnership with IMG, the international sports and entertainment group, to promote the international NRL broadcast rights over the next five years, with Fox Sports managing the broadcast rights for the USA and the UK.
Users who log on to Watch NRL will be able to watch either via a dedicated website, the Watch NRL mobile or tablet App for iOS or Android or via their TV screens using Airplay or Chromecast.
Todd Greenberg, the NRL’s chief executive, said: “This is a fantastic result for fans outside of Australia and it means that more people will have the chance to watch rugby league live than ever before.
“We're fortunate that we have passionate and enthusiastic NRL fans right throughout the world and many of them are just as vocal and committed as our local fans that live where each of our teams are based.”
Patrick Delaney, Fox Sports’ chief executive, said: “When we negotiated the new NRL broadcast deal in 2015, News Corp committed to helping grow the game in Australia and overseas.
“In 2018, that promise comes to life when Fox Sports delivers the world's first international NRL streaming service to feature every NRL game plus Fox League's famous entertainment shows – anywhere, anytime live and on demand.”
In February, Fox Sports launched its dedicated NRL channel in the wake of its A$1.175-billion ($904-million) outlay on rights to the top domestic league.
Fox League features more than 32 hours of live content each week, including all eight NRL games, with nine magazine shows planned.
In November 2015, the NRL announced a new A$1.8-billion, five-year domestic rights deal with Fox and commercial broadcaster Nine Network, 70 per cent up on the previous contract.