Aussies look to start a TV rights bidding war
July 14, 2014
Bill Pulver aims to start a bidding war to uplift the ARU's revenue © Getty Images
Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bull Pulver told Financial Review Sunday that he is hoping he can produce a bidding war between several free-to-air networks for Australian rugby's next broadcast deal.
Currently on a $25 million dollar annual deal with Fox Sports Australia and Network 10 that expires in 2015, Pulver said that he is "confident" rugby union could achieve a significant uplift and that he has begun negotiations with several interested parties.
Pulver has previously said rugby rights in Australia should be worth as much as Football Federation Australia's $40-million annual cash and contra deal with Fox Sports and SBS, but industry sources have cast doubts on rugby achieving a big uplift in revenue.
"I'm confident there is going to be a fair bit of demand for our product because it is a great sport for TV," Pulver said. "Broadcast revenue growth should be the single biggest contributor to the growth in revenue in income for Australian rugby. We have a relatively modest percentage of our revenue coming from broadcast rights compared with AFL, rugby league and soccer. So that's something we are hoping to correct through these current negotiations."
Currently working with Network 10, Pulver said the ARU wants at least some free-to-air presence for the Super Rugby competition, however it is understood several free-to-air networks are concerned about the ability to attract viewers to Super Rugby due to the match schedule seeing matches played in New Zealand and South Africa.
"There is likely to be continued interest from Ten in some form of relationship. And there are other free-to-air networks that are interested."
Further concerns have arisen with the new Super Rugby structure reducing higher-rating local derby matches against each other and with more matches overseas.
Pulver also said Australia's Super Rugby franchises are attractive to private investors with the ARU in talks with several parties interested in investing in the Melbourne Rebels and others circling the Waratahs.
"When you look at sport around the world, private equity has made a lot of money out of sporting teams, so it can work."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to spitting at Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse and will have his case heard on Friday night
Katarina Johnson-Thompson broke Jessica Ennis-Hill's British record, but fell agonisingly short of the world record as she claimed pentathlon gold at the European Indoor Championships in Prague on Friday
England's Matt Ford will take a narrow lead into the third day of the Africa Open after carding a second-round 66 at East London Golf Club
Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb is poised to sign a new long-term deal at White Hart Lane, sources have told ESPN
Jordan Henderson is not the new Steven Gerrard and any comparisons between them are unfair, according to manager Brendan Rodgers
Where does Anthony Davidson's record of 24 Grands Prix without a point rank him?
ESPN talks to Marcus Ericsson about the "pay driver" label, aiming for his first career points and what life was really like as a rookie during Caterham's chaotic final season
Gareth Bale says he has to be sharp in training or the other Real Madrid galacticos will quickly be on his case
Amid the glitz and glamour of modern grand prix racing it can be all too easy to forget about the men and women that keep the wheels turning. The Grand Prix Trust makes sure that's not the case
A spitting contest. Just what football needs to improve its reputation. You can always rely on football to stoop that little bit lower than you expected. Papiss Cisse of Newcastle United and Jonny Evans of Manchester United, who later protested his innoce
Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has claimed that "someone doesn't like [him]" in a cryptic social media post
Amir Khan is unlikely to face Kell Brook this summer as he looks to negotiate a fight with Miguel Cotto in America
Jose Mourinho has praised his Chelsea team's "warrior" spirit and challenged them to fill their pockets with trophies
Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud have the "mental strength" to spearhead Arsenal's charge for Champions League qualification, according to Arsene Wenger
Luis Suarez is to return to Anfield to play in a charity match arranged by Liverpool
After Nemanja Matic twisted his ankle celebrating Chelsea's League Cup win, ESPN runs down some of the game's most ludicrous injuries
Eight years ago, Steve Bunce was offered the chance of buying a 'share' in Tyson Fury, and it would have been a shrewd investment if he had the money
Who was the 100th man to win a world championship Grand Prix?
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
Paul Butler tells Inside Boxing he turned down the chance of a trial with Liverpool in order to focus on boxing - and it was the right choice