Sport1, the German commercial sports broadcaster, has acquired rights across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to the next three seasons of Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) domestic competition.
The deal, which will come into effect for the opening game of the NRL Premiership 2022 season on March 10 between Penrith Panthers and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, will see three matches per game week covered on Sport1 through until the end of the 2024 campaign.
In addition to the regular NRL season, games from the post-season playoffs and the Grand Final on October 2 will be covered on Sport1, while the rights will be platform-neutral.
Sport1 has said it expects to cover 90 matches live in total from the 16-team league and that it will also produce a weekly highlights show as well as short-form digital clips.
Last week, the NRL reported a profit of over AUD43 million ($31 million) for the 2021 season.
With last year’s revenues having reached AUD575 million, a 37% increase from 2020, the NRL has now begun to reimburse players for taking pay cuts during the 2021 season, a move which had been caused by the financial challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Domestic linear coverage rights for the NRL, meanwhile, are split between free-to-air broadcaster Nine, and pay-TV heavyweight Foxtel.