The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has announced new and significantly improved media rights arrangements for 2016-2020 which will enable the code to re-energise the game at grassroots level and invest in key strategic areas to ensure its future health and prosperity.
The ARU will receive a total of AUD $285m in media rights revenue from the total package of SANZAAR agreements - a 148% increase on revenue achieved from the previous media rights arrangements (2011-15).
FOX SPORTS will continue its proud partnership with Rugby after retaining the Australian rights for Test matches played in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as the expanded 18-team Asteron Life Super Rugby competition which will for the first time feature teams from Argentina and Japan in 2016. All Qantas Wallabies domestic Tests, New Zealand and South Africa domestic Tests, all matches in The Rugby Championship, and every Super Rugby match will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
Network Ten will remain the Australian free-to-air broadcaster, finalising a deal with FOX SPORTS to simulcast all Qantas Wallabies domestic Tests, the Bledisloe Cup, and all matches played by the Qantas Wallabies in The Rugby Championship.
For the first time in the history of the competition, Network Ten will show a full replay of the Australian Super Rugby match of the round each Sunday morning with a start time between 8am and 11am and a one-hour Super Rugby highlights show each Monday night. Network Ten will also broadcast full replays of all Asteron Life Super Rugby finals matches featuring an Australian team.
The new media rights deal also ensures the long-term future of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC), with FOX SPORTS to remain a key partner and exclusive broadcaster of the competition for the next five years. FOX SPORTS will also continue to broadcast the New Zealand and South Africa domestic competitions, the Mitre 10 Cup (NZ) and Absa Currie Cup (SA).
ARU CEO, Bill Pulver said: “These new media rights arrangements are a wonderful result for our game and we thank FOX SPORTS for its incredible support of Rugby over the past two decades.
"FOX SPORTS provide an absolutely world class coverage of Rugby and we are privileged to announce that we will continue our partnership for a further five years. Rugby fans will continue to have access to live coverage of every match and quality Rugby programming across Asteron Life Super Rugby, The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup, all Qantas Wallabies Test matches and much more on FOX SPORTS.
“We are also delighted that Network Ten will continue to broadcast Qantas Wallabies Test matches and will for the first time feature a replay of the Australian Super Rugby match of the round each Sunday morning, along with a Super Rugby highlights show each Monday night. This added coverage for Super Rugby on free-to-air television will allow more fans to experience the best provincial competition in the world.”
Mr Pulver said the incremental revenue from the new media rights arrangements will enable Australian Rugby to revitalise the game at all levels.
“With these new media rights arrangements in place the ARU will have surplus funds to re-invest in the game from grassroots through to the Wallabies and to address strategic priorities to grow the game including community Rugby, women’s Rugby and our development pathways.
“Early in 2016 we will announce a new five-year whole of game strategy for Australian Rugby that aligns with our media rights cycle and sets the direction and vision for the game of Rugby in Australia. Importantly, the Australian Rugby Strategic Plan has been built collaboratively by the Rugby community and underpins our plans for future investment in the game.
“We have also taken steps to improve the governance in our game through the execution of a National Charter, which has been supported by the formation of the Australian Rugby Strategy Group, consisting of CEOs from across Australian Rugby, which will oversee the delivery of the Strategic Plan.
“We will also provide greater assistance to our Super Rugby clubs and member unions and will establish a future fund for the game which will ensure its long-term health and prosperity.”
FOX SPORTS CEO, Patrick Delany said: “It’s an exciting time for Rugby in Australia. The Wallabies RWC fairy-tale run has reignited Australia’s passion for the sport and FOX SPORTS will be the place to take Rugby forward.
“As the foundation partner of Super Rugby, we have been there from the beginning and our commitment and investment has been instrumental in securing the future of the sport and helping Australia return to a powerhouse force again.
“With an expanded Super Rugby competition, a highly-anticipated Test series against England at home, plus a growing domestic competition in the NRC, the future is bright for the sport and we are excited to continue as the home of Rugby in Australia.”
Network Ten CEO, Paul Anderson said: “The new agreement strengthens and extends our commitment to Rugby and will bring more great matches to fans across the country.
“Rugby is a vital part of our premium sport content on Network Ten. We are delighted to be expanding our partnership with the Australian Rugby Union and FOX SPORTS to ensure viewers get the best possible coverage across all television.
“The Wallabies are on fire at the moment and we’re very excited about being part of their journey and success over the next five years.”