Nine's Gyngell happy with new NRL deal
By Ian McCullough
14:31 AEST Tue Aug 21 2012

Nine Network boss David Gyngell says the new broadcast deal paid in conjunction with Fox Sports to the ARLC of more than $1 billion to show NRL and State of Origin matches for the next five years is a fair price and a contract they had to win.

Incumbent broadcasters Nine and Fox Sports, who had first and last rights, trumped the Seven and Ten networks as rugby league secured the biggest TV deal in the sport's history.

"We have certainly stepped up and paid as much money as we could," Gyngell said on Tuesday.

"It is the greatest sport for television in the winter months and perfectly complements our cricket coverage.

"It is part of our heritage and a must-win for us and I think the price was fair and reasonable."

As part of the deal, Nine demanded the grand final would kick off at 7.15pm and State of Origin would remain in its current Wednesday night spot.

This killed off any hope from players and coaches of stand-alone Origin rounds, but Gyngell insisted they would be well recompensed under the new deal.

"The players and club are all going to get a good drink out of this, there is nothing surer than that," he said.

"Salary caps are going to increase and the grants to the clubs are going to improve. The most important thing is that with the windfall for the game we grow the roots and get more people playing it and fend off the AFL in Sydney and in Queensland."

The Sunday afternoon game will also still be shown on delay at 4pm.

Fox will continue with five live games over the round, including Monday night football.

The ARLC was successful in demanding a fixed schedule for the first 20 rounds of the season, something clubs were very keen to address.

Commission chairman John Grant hailed the new agreement as "the greatest deal ever done" by the sport.

"Today we answer the $1 billion question with the $1 billion-plus answer," Grant said.

The $1.025 billion deal is worth $925 million in cash, with the balance to be made up in advertising.

"We're still to sell our NZ TV rights and yet to monetise mobile platforms," said Grant.

"This is a fantastic outcome for the game and starts the journey the Commission was formed to oversee.

"The cash that comes from the agreement, used wisely, will provide a funding base to sustainably grow our game from its grassroots to the elite levels.

"We hope the game's stakeholders see this agreement as a confirmation of their decision to put in place an independent commission, and one that unlocks the promise that came from this formation."

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