NRL under the microscope – Part 1

Thursday, February 10, 2011 Posted by the sportsloop team
It seems everyone wants a bigger piece of the pie these days…

·         The NRL wants more money from its TV rights deal
·         Clubs want more money from the NRL
·         Players want more money from the clubs
·         And more teams want entry into the competition

Each of these things judged on their merits might appear reasonable but the problem for rugby league is the pie isn’t getting any bigger.

The establishment of the Independent Commission is in part a ploy to free up and better direct money that’s currently being sunk into the black hole of the games four current administrative bodies – the NRL, NSWRL, QRL and the CRL.

Unfortunately the commission has been much longer in the making than originally touted and names of potential appointees have come and gone faster than the fans can talk about them.

Everyone from sports stars, prominent business and media identities and league personalities has been spoken about at one time or another. Now a year on from Michael Searle’s declaration of independence and we’re left with a ‘shortlist’ of 128 people and no sign of what the commission will look like or when it’ll be in place.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very supportive of the need for the Independent Commission and its intended purpose but in trying to unravel rugby league from its admin nightmare the game’s ‘saviour’ has been caught up in the mess.

The latest bureaucratic entanglement comes following calls to delay the commission until after the TV rights deal is sorted. The idea being that if the NRL waits until the commission is in place to negotiate, it’s likely those dastardly (and organised) AFL boys will have already plundered the reserves of the major free-to-air and pay- TV stations. Once again this argument loses sight of the bigger picture:

·         The NRLs television ratings are consistently higher than the AFL
·         The NRL rates amongst the years highest rated single shows on FoxSports
·         And delaying the commission means News Ltd would again be on both sides of the negotiation table

The NRL has a strong position to negotiate improvements to its current deal, including fixed scheduling which would provide for a more even spread of teams on free-to-air television, and of course more money. But first and foremost it has to stop making business decisions based on the happenings of rival codes. Ironically this is something the commission would no doubt eradicate.

To be continued…

See you at the game.
 - DJK

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