Rugby Australia is looking for a new broadcasting partner and it appears CEO Raelene Castle’s position is hanging in the balance as a result.
News Corp Australia, which is the majority owner of Fox Sports Australia, announced that after a lengthy period of negotiations, talks had come to a sudden halt on Wednesday.
Rugby Australia will now potentially look at a new broadcast deal with Optus, News Corp reports.
Georgina Robinson, the chief rugby reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald, told Wide World of Sports Radio on 2GB that Castle’s position was “entirely dependent” on what happens with the new broadcast deal.
“If their initial instincts are correct, their research is correct, there is competitive tension, and she can secure a decent deal for rugby in the current environment because no one is handing out dollars for free, then she will stay on,” Robinson said.
“If she can’t and Fox don’t put a bid in and Optus lowballs, then Raelene Castle won’t see out the end of March.”
The current television deal worth $285 million was signed in 2015. It meant Rugby Australia earned $57 million a year.
The current domestic broadcasters of rugby in Australia are Fox Sports and Network Ten.
However, Fox Sports is the only broadcaster of the Super Rugby competition in Australia.
“It’s not just what Fox or Optus would be prepared to pay for it,” Robinson said.
“It’s actually what the other partners such as South Africa, New Zealand and broadcaster in the UK are prepared to pay.
“Because that’s where the 148 percent increase came from this time five years ago.”