Channel Seven has made a strong play to take rugby league rights from rival Channel Nine and is considered the frontrunner, according to a report on the Sydney Morning Herald website.
The SMH quotes an unnamed insider as saying: ”Seven would be the favourite at the moment. Nine would be the underdog, but don’t write them off. They’re still in this battle. Seven have the shareholders with the deep pockets, but Nine still has the advantage of the first and last rights agreement.”
Representatives of Fox Sports and Ten have also been in negotiations with the Australian Rugby League Commission over a new broadcast deal tipped to be worth about $1 billion to the code.
The SMH says the ARLC saw presentations from the media companies on Friday and negotiations continued over the weekend.
Seven chairman Kerry Stokes (pictured) was part of his station’s negotiating team on Friday.
The deal is expected to be finalised during the finals series next month. The ARLC is said to be considering allowing more than one free-to-air channel to show the NRL, and also would consider a stand alonge broadcaster of the State of Origin.