Australian Rugby Union today welcomed Network Ten as the new Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcast rights holder for Qantas Wallabies Test matches from 2013-2015.
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.
In joining Fox Sports as the broadcast rights holders for Qantas Wallabies Tests up until 2015, TEN will televise the three Tests built in to next year’s highly-anticipated nine-match tour by the British & Irish Lions.
ARU Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill AO, welcomed Network Ten’s decision to take up the Free-to-Air broadcast rights for Qantas Wallabies Tests until 2015.
“We are delighted to welcome TEN as the new Free-to-Air home for Rugby from 2013 to 2015,” Mr O’Neill said.
“We look forward to working with them knowing Rugby will be the primary football code in the network’s programming stable.
“It’s important for us given the exciting times ahead – including next year’s highly-anticipated tour of Australia by the British & Irish Lions.
“The Lions Tour is a massive occasion. It has been 12 Years in the Making and will be the biggest Rugby event in this country since the 2003 Rugby World Cup.”
For the past two seasons Nine have held the FTA broadcast rights.
“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.
“I would like to thank Channel Nine for the position they have taken on this issue.”