The National Rugby League (NRL), Australia and New Zealand’s elite rugby league competition, has secured a prime-time TV deal in the US for its Las Vegas, Nevada, regular season opener.

The doubleheader of games, marking the first time NRL regular season games will take place outside of Australia and New Zealand, will be broadcast live on March 2 on the Fox Sports 1 channel.

The two fixtures – the Manly Sea Eagles vs. the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Brisbane Broncos vs. the Sydney Roosters – will take place back-to-back at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, home of National Football League's (NFL) Las Vegas Raiders, just a few weeks after the venue hosts the NFL’s Super Bowl.

With the NFL season finished by March 2 and the Major League Baseball season only starting later in the month, there is a gap in live sports that the NRL could attract in the prime-time slot, giving it an opportunity to attract a major audience.

The US broadcast deal on national network Fox was likely driven by the relationship between Fox and the NRL in Australia.

Domestically, Fox operates the Fox League subscription TV service, a dedicated rugby league channel that holds non-exclusive rights to the NRL through 2027.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Furthermore, Fox Corp’s global chair Lachlan Murdoch, son of Fox Corp’s controversial founder Rupert Murdoch, is reportedly an avid NRL fan, likely easing the barriers to the league’s entry onto Fox screens in the US.

The four teams taking part in the Las Vegas showcase were selected after putting forward a business case as to why they should be chosen.

The Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles bring with them Hollywood power with actors Russell Crowe, co-owner of Rabbitohs, and Sea Eagles fan Hugh Jackman sure to make an appearance at the games, while Murdoch is a noted supporter of the Broncos, a fact that will have played no small part in the team’s selection.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said at the time of the announcement: “The 2024 Las Vegas matches will form part of an exciting ‘Australia Week’ in Las Vegas where we will be showcasing rugby league and Australia to the US market. […] Rugby league will be on a stage which the sport has simply never been on before and we look forward to giving all clubs the opportunity in coming years.”