Broadcast rights might not be sealed before old deal runs dry

NOW the ARL Commission is approaching what is being termed the ”struggle” stage of the broadcast rights negotiations, chairman John Grant has raised the prospect of no new deal being signed by the time money from this contract dries up.
Nanjing Night Net

In the pursuit of the ”right outcome”, Grant said all possibilities had been explored. And while it is expected the administration will have a new deal by November 1, he said the game was sustainable even if the windfall from the new deal were delayed.

”It’s something that we’re not going to drive any faster than we need to to get the right outcome,” Grant said yesterday. ”We’re pursuing it as quickly as we can. It would be nice to have all i’s dotted, all t’s crossed and money flying by the first of November, which is the end of the current broadcast rights, but if that doesn’t happen, we can sustain ourselves for some considerable time after that. We’ve got to get the right outcome.”

If there are delays, there are implications for the clubs. They have been told to expect a salary cap of $5 million next season, but there is still uncertainty about the level of the player payment ceiling beyond that. Some players might hold off signing long-term with their clubs, as they wait for a concrete idea of the money on offer. Grant, though, stressed that, ”We’ve given the clubs pretty clear guidelines on what we believe they should be basing their planning around, and we’re all moving from the same process.”

He is also prepared to be patient about the search for a new chief executive, despite the public thirst for a quick appointment. He also raised the prospect of a short-term boss – although he did not clarify what sort of timeframe he meant. ”We’ve gone to the second stage of that process, which is identifying a shortlist of candidates. We’re in the process of interviewing that shortlist,” Grant said. ”We’re not under pressure to make a hasty decision.”

The commission met officials from the four western Sydney clubs in Parramatta yesterday, with Grant saying the administration was intent on a less ”fragmented” approach in the region. ”The economy of western Sydney is growing at an amazing rate, and rugby league needs to be a part of that growth,” Grant said.

The commission decided next year’s City-Country match would be played at Coffs Harbour, while plans for a Nines tournament in New Zealand in 2014 would continue to be reviewed. The commissioners have also ended any prospect of North Queensland halfback Robert Lui playing again this season, prompting an angry response from the Cowboys.

Lui had been banned from playing in April after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm to his partner Taleah Backo. The Cowboys had attempted to convince the ARLC he should be able to play again this year, due to favourable reports from a psychologist, but that plea was rejected. ”We are very disappointed with the decision,” Cowboys chief executive Peter Jourdain said in a statement. ”The psychologist who has been working with Robert for many months is of the very firm view that Robert is now at the point where playing football is a very important part of his rehabilitation.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.