First Conference of ARL Commissioners

Figures released to the meeting today showed that a cumulative audience of 134million viewers tuned in to Australian free to air and subscription television to watch, NRL, Toyota Cup, State of Origin, City Country, Australia v New Zealand Tests and the Four Nations in 2011. The figure is 12 million more than any other Australian sport and does not take into account a further 12 million Rugby League viewers in New Zealand.

The detailed analysis of 2011 television results confirmed Rugby League as Australia’s number one television sport. 

Other key points included:

  • the highest average ratings of any football code on free to air and subscription television in 2011
  • four of the top five sporting programs of the year on free to air television (including Origin Three as the highest rating free to air sports program)
  • sixty-four of the top one hundred programs on subscription television
  • the highest rating Origin series in history
  • 1.3% growth in free to air audiences
  • 16% growth in subscription television 

“They are a powerful set of results across the coverage of the game,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today. 

“As we look towards media negotiations in the months ahead they are a reminder of Rugby League’s value in the market.” 

Today’s meeting involved considerable discussion in relation to rights negotiations, reiterating that they would commence after the formation of the ARL Commission and that the game with the support of the clubs would strongly pursue the concept of a ‘full-season’ schedule with days and time-slots determined at the start of the year. 

The 2011 Annual Conference was the last under the auspices of the NRL Partnership and the Chairman elect of the ARL Commission, Mr John Grant, and his fellow commissioners were in attendance. 

Mr Grant made it clear that the Commission was indeed weeks away from formally assuming control but stressed there were a number of legal processes and due diligence obligations to be completed. 

“Rome wasn’t built in a day – but it was built,” Mr Grant said in his address. 

Mr Grant went on to assure the conference that the Commissioners would be focused on a ‘whole of game’ approach.  

“There will be a strong focus on getting a whole of game strategic plan in place,” he said. 

“It is important that as we look towards a significant growth in revenue that there is a strategy that underpins the way that money is used.

“The Commission is a unique opportunity to review existing plans without the constraints of the game’s previous structure.” 

The meeting today looked closely at marketing and new media strategies as well as a close analysis of Rugby League’s development figures. 

“We saw 35,000 new participants enter the game in 2011 - more than ever before,” Director of League integration, Andrew Hill, said today. 

“There are over 480,000 club and school players taking part in actual competitions, not just short term clinics, and it is important people acknowledge just where our strengths are. 

“There are over a million more who take part in clinics, back-yard league activities or some other organized Rugby League experience. 

“There is no doubt that we can do a lot of things better but in the review that we have been conducting into Rugby League’s development pathways it is clear also that there are a lot of positives to build on.” 

Further enquiries: John Brady 02 9339 8524, 0408 881 222;  David Taylor 02 9339 8555, 0405 228 974.


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