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Rugby Australia unveils largest and most comprehensive Rugby rights ever assembled

Mon, 10/08/2020, 6:30 am
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Photo: Stu Walmsley
Photo: Stu Walmsley

Rugby Australia have today unveiled the largest and most comprehensive collection of Rugby rights ever assembled, with prospective broadcasters having now received documentation to begin the next phase of the negotiation process.

The current agreement expires on 31 December 2020 as Rugby in Australia is set to enter a new exciting era in its storied history with proven broadcast performers as well as exciting new content amongst the offering.

The rights include a variety of options for broadcasters or the opportunity to own rights to the entire package, specifically:

  • The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup for the Australian Men’s national team, the Wallabies
  • International Tests for the Australian Women’s national team, the Wallaroos
  • A ‘State of Union’ competition between New South Wales and Queensland, with players to play for their state of birth or where they played their Club rugby
  • An Australian domestic Super Rugby competition including five Australian teams, or, a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition that includes five Australian teams.
  • A four-week Super Eight competition, to be played at the conclusion of the respective domestic Super Rugby competitions, and be a cross-over Championship between the top two teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as well as one team from Japan and South America
  • A short form National Club Championship between the top Premier Club teams in Australia following the completion of the respective Club competitions
  • New South Wales’ Shute Shield competition as well as Queensland’s Premier Club Rugby competition
  • A showcase of the best schoolboy Rugby in Australia

Interim Rugby Australia Chief Executive Rob Clarke said: “We will do whatever is in the best interests of Australian rugby and we’ve been working hard on a variety of competition models, not just for Super Rugby but for every level of the game.”

“We have a whole range of new rights that we’re including into this package and we’re very excited by some of that new content. At Super Rugby level for 2021, we have incorporated two options, one is a domestic only model and the other is a trans-Tasman model.

“We have some new initiatives we’re also incorporating; a State of Union Series, which is our State of Origin, which is new content. A Super 8 Series, which is a four-week long crossover competition at the end of our domestic competition that includes the top-ranked teams from New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and South America.

“We also have a short form National Club Rugby Championship that we would like to launch with some of the best Clubs in the country at the end of the Club Rugby seasons.

“Then of course, there are the rights to the New South Wales’ Shute Shield and Queensland Premier Club Rugby competitions, in addition to a showcase Series of the best schoolboy Rugby around the country.

“When you look at it that way, there is a package of rights from grassroots right to the top of the International game and it’s a really high quality offering for any prospective broadcaster, and one that we’re extremely excited about,” Clarke said.

John Knox has served as an independent advisor throughout the process, alongside a Rugby Australia board sub-committee, with informal discussions having started with interested parties three months ago.

Rugby Australia has informed prospective broadcasters to return submissions by Friday 4 September 2020