Is the NRL on the verge of having the Sunday afternoon match live on Channel Nine? Over the weekend there were reports the NRL is considering kicking off the match at 4pm, shifting from the current 3pm kick off.
Channel Nine’s head of sport, Steve Crawley, says Nine would telecast the matches live if the kick-off times were changed. Meanwhile, NRL director of football Todd Greenberg is looking into the issues around shifting the kick-off times.
If this eventuates, the Sunday afternoon match will be live on Nine, which presents both pros and cons:
- The live match on Sunday would deliver higher ratings compared to the delayed telecast.
- These higher ratings would flow-on to Nine’s news on Sunday evenings and their evening programming.
- This move could also represent positive flow-on effects to other matches/timeslots.
- In the first two months, the 4pm match will be a genuine afternoon match, as natural light will still be available.
- The 4pm match would start in light and finish in darkness in the months of May, June, July and the first few weeks of August.
- Could affect crowds in the cold months of May, June, July and August.
The Sunday delay game has been a source of frustration for NRL fans for many years. It is also the one timeslot where the ratings were disastrous last season.
In recent times, I have been sneakily watching an online stream of the 3pm game. It is quite humorous when the match finishes and Ray Warren announces, “It is time to go the news.” I look at the clock, it is ten to five, not six o’clock!
Prior to the current TV deal, the NRL for many years only had two afternoon matches – Sunday 2pm and Sunday 3pm, with the latter game shown on Nine on delay. However, the current TV deal has seen the re-introduction of Saturday afternoon football.
The reason Saturday afternoon football’s been returned is because Fox doesn’t want to have two matches played simultaneously at 7:30pm Saturday night, and therefore cannibalising the TV ratings.
If the NRL sticks by the Saturday afternoon timeslot, along with the Sunday 2pm match, they will still have two genuine afternoon matches, just as it has previously.
Strategically, you could schedule non-Sydney teams to host matches on Saturday afternoon. New Zealand Warriors, Canberra and Melbourne spring to mind.
Warriors due to the fact they are two hours ahead, Canberra with junior league on Sunday, while with Melbourne, AFL attract crowds on Saturday afternoons in Melbourne, so why not the NRL?
When the next TV deal commences in 2018, have two Sunday games at 2pm. One match could be on Fox, the other on Nine. In turn, it would be followed by the live 4pm game.
Delay matches on free-to-air belong to the dark ages. I’m all in favour of a live 4pm match.
Roarers, are you in favour of a live 4pm match? Also, would you attend a 4pm Sunday game?