The NRL is set to open the 2024 season with a historic double-header in Las Vegas which is impressive enough in it’s own right, however it’s now been confirmed that a US TV deal has been secured with the games to be shown live to over 90 million Americans.
Expanding the sport of rugby league is something that is always at the forefront of the minds of those leading the way in the sport, and securing this broadcast deal could be the biggest step yet at growing rugby league in it’s entire history.
The decision to head to America and specifically Las Vegas was a bold one but reports of impressive ticket sales and now this incredible broadcast deal have vindicated the decision massively.
Down under the Daily Telegraph are reporting that the deal has been done with Australian Rugby League Commission boss Peter V’landys having secured the deal.
That means Manly Sea Eagles versus South Sydney Rabbitohs and last season’s runners-up Brisbane Broncos against Sydney Roosters will be aired live in the US.
Andrew Abdo, NRL CEO, and V’landys have been reportedly aiming to crack the American market and Abdo has now confirmed that the double-header will be broadcast via Fox Sports One.
Fox Sports reaches more than 90 million homes in America and also has feeds in both Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean, meaning that the NRL could potentially be watched by up to 137 million new potential fans.
It’s a moment of huge potential for the sport and only serves signifies the strength of the NRL and it’s disparity in size relative to Super League sadly.
CEO Abdo explained: ““It’s a pretty big deal for our fans – it’s very exciting for the sport.
“We’ve previously had NRL games shown on Fox Sports in America – but this will be the first time we’ve had games shown live in prime time on Fox Sports 1.
“To get a game of NRL in prime time in America with our partnership with Fox Sports, getting that promotion in America is huge for us.
“It gives us exposure and reach for the game to sports-loving Americans.
“We are confident that when they see our product, the NRL is something they will have an interest in following.”
It’s now a major opportunity for the players too performing in front of such a mammoth audience with the first game slated to kick off at 6.30pm local time, and the second at 8.30pm.
With the game taking place in Vegas which is one of the later time zones in the US it means that the East Coast will be able to view games from 1.30pm onwards, whilst the West Coast will have the game as primetime viewing at both 6.30 and 8.30.