It was just 52 days ago NRL powerbrokers were California dreamin' of the money that could pour into the game’s coffers in the next broadcast rights deal.
Google. Facebook. Silicon Valley. Now the NRL is struggling to even get its players out of Fortitude Valley, let alone contemplate the sort of coin it was hoping to extract from the silicon variety.
Nine chief executive Hugh Marks forced the NRL to swallow some bitter medicine.Credit:Getty
On his first day in charge as ARL Commission chairman last October, Peter V’landys sat inside a Panthers Leagues Club conference room and declared he would get more from the broadcasters in the next rights negotiations than the record $1.8 billion deal former NRL boss Dave Smith managed for the current cycle.
"I am very confident, looking at all of the documents I’ve seen in the last few days, of achieving a better result than what we have now," V’landys said in October.
"To me, that is the most important aspect, to ensure the game stays viable. If you’re not viable, you’re nowhere. It’s critical we continue to get the revenues we’re getting."
Now, less than six months later, the game is fighting to get just a portion of that.
It’s not exactly what V’landys had in mind when he outlined his plans for the 2023 broadcast cycle rights, but the reality of the situation will, on Tuesday, see the game’s chairman at Nine’s headquarters – the publisher of the Herald – for a 1.5-metre separation meeting with the network’s boss, Hugh Marks.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.Credit:Getty
Marks doesn't want to meet NRL CEO Todd Greenberg, who will instead head to Foxtel for a meeting with chief executive Patrick Delany.
Both broadcast partners want to use the coronavirus situation to renegotiate the deal and start again. The NRL is reluctant to do that because Smith's deal has the governing body out in front. But the world has changed since V’landys' declaration six months ago.
Peter V’landys and Todd Greenberg after a press conference last month.Credit:AAP
The second thing Nine wants to know is what V'landys plans on asking of the broadcaster in the not-too-distant future.
"You have to look at all elements of our broadcast, what is exclusive, what is not exclusive, what buckets do we have?" V'landys said six months ago.
A statement he will now have to consider almost three years prematurely and for far less than what he would have been hoping in the next cycle.
The third thing Nine wants is to sit down with Fox Sports and discuss the current agreement. It wants to revisit the simulcast arrangement and find a solution that works for both parties. It wants a better season structure as part of a long-term deal.
But what Nine wants and what Nine gets could be two completely different things.
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