Streaming service to save Super Rugby

An unlikely financial saviour has reportedly appeared on the doorstep for Rugby Australia and Super Rugby.

The deal would become a first ever Down Under with the Nine Network reportedly entering discussions with Rugby Australia around a broadcast deal.

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If signed off it would see Wallabies games broadcast on Channel 9’s free-to-air channel with Super Rugby games being shown on the network’s streaming service, Stan.

Games being played on a streaming service would be a first in Australia with the broadcast discussions being reported by The Australian.

Fox Sports remain in discussions with Rugby Australia over the broadcast rights, however the figures are expected to be well below previous years.

The dip comes on the heels of Rugby Australia’s public breakdown with star player Israel Folau with under siege former chief executive Raelene Castle resigning.

Fox Sports’ previous deal with Rugby Australia was a $US125m deal over five years, with the Nine Network not expected to shell out tens of millions annually to secure the rights.

Network Ten have reportedly expressed interest in securing the broadcast rights for Wallabies matches.

The broadcast rights could become a scrap between networks.Source:Getty Images

Rugby Australia CEO Rob Clarke is hopeful new additions to the broadcast offering will help soften the financial blow to a sport reeling from the end of its last broadcast deal, which was worth $285 million over five years.

Clarke said a number of broadcasters had shown interest in acquiring rugby’s rights.

“We know that sporting broadcast rights have seen some challenging times in both Australia and in other markets around the world,” he said.

“That said, I think rugby has an enormous amount to offer a broadcast partner and not just in the quantity of content we know have available as part of this rights package but the quality at every level from grassroots all the way through to test matches.

“We do know the rugby audience typically is a very defined audience with the ability, spending power to actually get behind the game and I think that has a lot of attractiveness to a range of broadcasters. I’m naturally an optimistic person so I’ll say I’m hopeful we’re going to get to a great result, I’ll let you know in a month’s time.”

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