The ARU have announced that Channel Ten will take over the Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcast rights for Wallabies Test matches from 2013-2015.
As part of the deal Super Rugby fans will also be able to see a weekly highlights show on Ten.
Following discussions between the primary broadcast rights holder Fox Sports, Network Ten and the original free-to-air rights holder Channel Nine, the FTA rights have now been assumed by TEN.
Network Ten previously held the FTA broadcast rights – as the first commercial TV partner for Rugby – between 1992 and 1995, including the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
From 2013 to 2015, TEN will telecast live all Tests the Qantas Wallabies play in the Southern Hemisphere – including the June internationals, Bledisloe Cup matches and The Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.
TEN also holds exclusive FTA rights to some internationals on the Qantas Wallabies’ Spring Tour Tests in Europe. This year’s four-Test trip will kick off on November 10 against France in Paris.
For the past two years Nine have held the FTA broadcast rights and have done nothing but try and ruin the game. They refused to show Wallabies games live across Australia, commentators were unable to talk knowledgably about the game and players and they would cut coverage without showing the after match speeches from the captains.
It was woeful and the audience numbers reflect the decline in viewership since Nine took over the broadcast. The last Bledisloe match recorded an audience of 496k tuned in to watch the 18-18 draw.
Outgoing CEO John O’Neill finally admitted today that there were huge issues with Nine’s coverage of rugby.
“We know there were programming conflicts for Nine over that period,” said Mr O’Neill.
“We also appreciate that Nine not only understood this but the frustration it was causing for many in the Rugby community, and this resolution is certainly a beneficial one from that perspective.
Let’s hope that Channel Ten can now give rugby the coverage it deserves in this country.