We are constantly being told we live in a changing World, yet “change”
is not the word when it comes to Channel Nine’s coverage of the NRL premiership
that kicks off this weekend.

Over the weekend we were told by the television writers that Nine is
desperately waiting for the football season to lift ratings in the face of
stiff competition from Channel Seven in particular.

What a pity the importance Nine gives to its football coverage does not
translate into a better, and fairer, deal for its legion of league viewers?

You may recall that the demise of Burkes Backyard, or whatever it was called, was accompanied by some
speculation that Nine would use the opportunity to allow Queensland and New
South Wales fans to watch at least one game each weekend “live”…by bringing
the Friday night match forward to 7.30pm.

It was never going to happen. The 8.30
timeslot is a ratings winner, and a live telecast would slash the amount of
advertising/promotional time available. Oh, and some narrow-minded Club
CEO’S complained it would cut
attendances.

And it was never going to happen because the
NRL is comfortable with the existing arrangements. Complacency is the right
word to describe both the NRL attitude, and that of Nine.

http://www.crikey.com.au/articles/2005/03/007-0001-5621.html

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Peter Fray
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