Posted November 05, 2018 02:28:52It was a busy day at the Sydney headquarters of the NFL in November, as the league’s new media rights deal with Telstra kicked in.
While most players were away from their home teams, a handful of players and coaches were in Sydney on a conference call with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and the league office.
They discussed the league having more flexibility to operate in different markets and where they can and cannot operate, Smith said.
The call was in Sydney because the league is in the middle of renegotiating the deal, and Smith has been in talks with the union about what it wants to change, according to a source.
The deal includes a new four-year deal for $3.7 billion in rights fees, a $1.2 billion increase in league revenue and the relocation of an NFL franchise to the Gold Coast.
But the NRL is also set to renegotiate the deal to see if it is worth $2.5 billion, the source said.
This comes as the NRL has been forced to cut back its TV coverage in Sydney, and is also cutting its game coverage to just three games a year, from four.
It is expected to cut its games to four games every other week from next season, which is the number of games played per week in Sydney from the NRL’s original contract with Telstar.
That has been an issue, with the league saying that the games are the least expensive way of bringing in money to help offset the cost of the new deal.
“There is an expectation that the NRL will have to make some cuts to its TV package, but there is a good chance we will be able to go into the next season with only three games,” a source told the Daily Telegraph.
“It’s a matter of when, not if.”
Smith is adamant that the league has no intention of cutting the games and wants the deal renegotiated with a lower number of matches.
“We are not interested in making cuts to games,” Smith said in a statement.
“This is not about the numbers of games.
This is about ensuring that our players have the best possible game experience.
The NRL will work with the players to find a solution that will benefit all the teams, and the players are committed to that.”
A new deal is expected later this month.