The NRL, Channel Nine and Fox Sports are in the final stages of negotiating a broadcast rights deal for seasons 2018-2022 that will deliver the pay TV rights to the subscription channel.
According to reports on Thursday, Fox Sports have acquired the rights from Channel Nine for their Saturday night game for around $175 million over the course of the five-year deal.
That would allow Fox Sports to maintain their vital monopoly on coverage of Saturday night rugby league.
In August, Channel Nine signed a $925 million deal for the free-to-air rights that included a Saturday fixture. However as part of that agreement Nine were given the option to on-sell the match to Fox Sports.
In a media release on Thursday, Nine said a deal had not been done yet but confirmed it was in talks to offload its Saturday night game.
“NEC (Nine Entertainment Co.) confirms that it is in discussions with the ARLC and Fox Sports about a potential variation to NEC’s rights to broadcast NRL matches,” the release read.
“No agreement has been reached on any transaction.
“Should an agreement be reached NEC will make an appropriate announcement to the market in accordance with disclosure obligations.”
It is estimated the TV rights across free-to-air, Pay-TV and subscription channels could be worth up to $1.8 billion over the five seasons.
Confirmation of the pay TV deal could come as soon as Thursday afternoon.
Some of the aspects of the new deal, such as the end of Monday night football, could be brought forward to next season.