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Nine Entertainment Announces Variation Of NRL Rights

Sydney, Australia - Nine Entertainment Co. (ASX:NEC) has executed variations to its agreements with the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) for the 2016 to 2022 seasons.

For the 2016 and 2017 seasons, NEC has agreed to permit Fox Sports to simulcast matches (other than the State of Origin and the Grand Final), in return for a payment of $20 million per annum. NEC and Fox Sports have also agreed with the ARLC to move the delayed Friday night game to a live Thursday night slot (for 18 weeks in 2016 and 23 weeks in 2017), allowing Nine to show more matches live and in prime time. In 2017, Nine will also show a Saturday night match live, in the last 5 rounds of the weekly competition.

For the 2018 to 2022 seasons, Fox Sports will simulcast Nine’s matches (other than the State of Origin and the Grand Final) and NEC has given rights back to the ARLC in respect of the Saturday night match (which will be licensed to Fox Sports). As in 2017, the Saturday night match in the last 5 rounds of the weekly competition will be shown by both NEC and Fox Sports. NEC’s average cost over the 2018 to 2022 rights period will now be $125 million per annum, inclusive of contra, down from the previously announced $185 million per annum.

Under this revised agreement, live broadcast of NRL (inclusive of pre and post match commentary) on Free-To-Air TV will increase from approximately 150 hours in CY15 to approximately 240 hours from CY18.

Hugh Marks, CEO of NEC, said “This is an outstanding result for the game with more live and free coverage for NRL fans from 2016. For Nine, it clearly represents an enhanced outcome for our shareholders and enables us to participate in a strong media partnership delivering quality NRL coverage for the game, the clubs and the broader NRL community for the next 7 years.”

Source: Nine Entertainment