IMG, Australian Rugby League Commission in five-year deal

The five-year agreement with IMG Media will ensure fans overseas have worldwide access to all Telstra Premiership matches as well as State of Origin, Test matches played in Australia, AAMI City-Country and the Harvey Norman All Stars.

The partnership covers free-to-air television, subscription television, IPTV, mobile, in-ship, in-flight and gaming rights, as well as access to the NRL Films archive, and will provide international fans with:

•    Guaranteed television coverage in key markets including the UK, USA, Asia, and Pacific;

•    Access to all games in HD either through television or online platforms, as well as access to a 30-minute weekly highlights show;

•    A free digital NRL Channel for international fans featuring match vision and a mobile NRL app;

•    All NRL and State of Origin matches available on a live or near-live basis via television or online, mobile applications, smart TVs or other media platforms;

•    International fans in regions where there is no TV or IPTV rights deals in place will be able to access matches for free on a leading web destination, such as YouTube or USTREAM.

“What’s exciting for Rugby League fans around the world is that we now have in place a range of different options for them to watch matches across television and digital mediums,” says NRL interim chief executive Shane Mattiske. “To have guaranteed television exposure in key markets such as the UK, USA and Pacific is really significant for growing the game’s international exposure. As IMG Media finalises deals in markets around the world we will be able to confirm the processes in which fans will be able to tune in to watch all the excitement of the Telstra Premiership and the best representative contests in sport, including State of Origin.”

Chris Guinness, senior vice-president, Head of Asia Pacific, IMG Media, comments: “We are very excited about extending our relationship with the NRL over the next five years. The relationship has evolved from traditional international TV distribution to a complete 360 degree involvement covering all aspects of the NRL’s international media assets and we look forward to working closely with the NRL in this new exciting era.”

The international rights do not include NRL properties in Australia and New Zealand, nor do they include World Cup matches or Tests overseas. Most international rights deals will be in place before the start of the 2013 Telstra Premiership season.

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