The NRL announced today that Sunday afternoon matches will be shown live on Channel 9 in 2015.
CEO Dave Smith said the agreement, reached with Channel 9 and Fox Sports, was a coup for all Rugby League fans.
He said it meant Rugby League fans would now be able to watch seven matches live on television every week – two on Channel 9 and five on Fox Sports.
“There is nothing better than watching games live and now it is going to become a prime time reality on Sundays,” Mr Smith said.
“Channel 9 will show Sunday games live throughout the season so fans will see every minute of the game as it happens.
“It means NRL games will be shown live on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday in 2015.”
All 26 Sunday matches will be shown live in Sydney with 23 live matches in Brisbane once daylight saving ends.
Mr Smith said the official schedule for 2015 would be released on Monday.
But he revealed that the first three weeks of Live Sunday Football on Channel 9 would be:
- Round 1 - Panthers v Bulldogs
- Round 2 – Rabbitohs v Roosters
- Round 3 – Rabbitohs v Tigers
“In other words fans will see some of the top teams of 2014, including the Premiers South Sydney, in blockbuster matches to kick off the Sunday coverage,” Mr Smith said.
“We are scheduling big games that people want to watch on Sundays.
“So not only will we have a great offering on television but there will be better games for fans at the ground on Sunday afternoons – when so many families are able to attend.”
Mr Smith thanked Channel 9 CEO David Gyngell and Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany for working with the NRL to make live Sunday football coverage a reality.
Mr Gyngell said he expected the move to boost the number of people watching Sunday afternoon football on television.
He said that, in a meeting with the NRL clubs, there was a clear message that they wanted live football coverage on Sundays – because it was important for fans.
“Everyone prefers to watch games live – we just had to make it happen,” Mr Gyngell said.
Nine Head of Sport, Steve Crawley said: “Our aim is to deliver the best possible sporting spectacle and that means showing NRL matches live wherever possible.
“This is a great outcome for clubs, fans and players.”