Australian Rugby League Commission interim CEO Shane Mattiske says the strength of a new broadcast deal will be measured in broader terms than the raw dollar figure TV networks are prepared to pay for the product.
As league looks for a figure in excess of $1 billion, and maybe near the AFL’s recent $1.25b deal, Mattiske said the way the game was conveyed to the audience meant as much as the money.
“Our focus is to do the absolute best deal for rugby league,” Mattiske said. “In terms of benchmarks we look across a range of things – we look at benchmark values but we also look at benchmarks in terms of how we increase our exposure and how we increase that depth of engagement with our fans.
“It’s not all about revenue – it’s also about getting to more people throughout the country and in NZ and internationally.”
Mattiske, who is in the role in a caretaker capacity following the surprise resignation of David Gallop last week, said the game was in a very healthy position.
“It’s a very exciting time for rugby league right now,” said Mattiske. “We’re four months into a new independent commission. We’ve got record crowds, record ratings, go into State of Origin [tonight] expecting to see a fabulous ratings number, we’ve got incredible growth in New Zealand right now in terms of premiership and international elite level, so you would say we’re primed for growth and that will lead us into a broadcast deal that will be completed soon.
“The future is very bright for us. The broadcast deal is going to enable us to invest even more money into community programs we’re rolling out throughout the country, particularly the indigenous space. It will enable us to invest even more in participation, it will enable us to invest in our clubs and help them to continue to grow build their membership numbers and build their essentials of business to drive their growth.
“You are going to see very bright things from rugby league. We are on a strong trajectory right now but we will have the power behind us to move forward and achieve big goals.”
Mattiske was speaking at a coalition of major sports lunch inMelbourne, and was a driving force behind the formation of the coalition. He was hired by Gallop 10 years ago to oversee special projects and has been close to the TV deal.
He told The Australian newspaper on Monday that he was “involved in all our new media negotiations and I have been working for the past two years on preparing for these broadcast negotiations. I have been part of forming our game’s first whole-of-game strategic plan.”
Mattiske ruled out seeking the CEO role full-time, but he did impress in the public outing Tuesday alongside bosses of the other football codes – AFL’s Andew Demetriou, rugby union’s John O’Neill and soccer’s Ben Buckley.
Image: The Australian