It’s not the EPL but it sure as hell is one of the biggest sports in Australia. At the grass-roots level Netball challenges Soccer for the highest participation rate and the new National Netball League will be the pinnacle of the sport and today Telstra and Nine joined to sign a five-year partnership to bring that event to Australians.
Just as they are with the NRL and AFL, Telstra will be a key partner to Netball Australia, but perhaps more critically will stream games live on Telstra TV exclusively.
This is yet another shift to IPTV or Internet TV for sport, and while it’s not the NRL or AFL it sure does help form a picture of the future for live sport.
The deal also gives Telstra a bunch of other things including ticket options for their “Telstra Thanks” program and other new content experiences.
Importantly, through the involvement of the Nine Network the new broadcast deal ensures live free-to-air television for two games a week and live streaming and delayed television for all games from the 2017 season.
Kate Palmer, Chief Executive of Netball Australia, said “This is the most significant broadcasting rights agreement in the history of Australian women’s sport.
“It is truly transformative,” she said. “It lays the foundation for the full professionalisation of elite netball and the cementing of Australia’s reputation as having the prime netball competition in the world.”
According to Netball Australia – under the broadcasting agreement:
- There will be 60 games played in Australia’s new national netball league season from February, with two live games and two delayed games to be played as a prime-time, Saturday night double-header on the Nine Network (free-to-air)
- The remaining two live games will be available on Telstra TV
- All games will be broadcast live through the Netball Live app
- The Fast5 Netball World Series, to be held in Melbourne this October, will be the first event to be broadcast under the new agreements with Nine and Telstra
- Fans will be able to watch all Australian netball content live on the big screen – including the new national netball league, Fast5 World Netball Series and Diamonds international test matches
As part of their announcement, Telstra also revealed they will have more than 200,000 Telstra TV devices in homes across Australia by June, a staggering amount of potential for Netball, but also for those streaming services on the box such as Stan, Presto and Netflix.
No pricing or package information from Telstra is available yet, and while the Netball deal talks highly of the “Free to air coverage on the Nine Network” it should be clear that there’s not guarantee, or frankly likelihood, that will be on the main channel. Expect to see Netball on 9life perhaps – the perfect demographic fit?
Feature Image: Laura Hale