Netball Australia has inked a historic five-year broadcast rights and revenue sharing agreement with Nine Entertainment to bring the sport prime-time free-to-air television.
Telstra has secured mobile streaming rights as well as two exclusive matches per week to be broadcast via Telstra TV.
The deal, which begins in 2017, includes a Saturday night live double-header on Nine, as well as two delayed games. Telstra will broadcast two exclusive matches per week live via Telstra TV as well as simulcast Nine's two live matches, and all games will be available live on a 'Netball Live' mobile app.
Nine will work closely with Netball Australia to help generate greater revenue for one of Australia's most played sports and commercialise its assets. Nine will help with sponsorships and advertising for on-court assets, signage and bibs, sharing the revenue with Netball Australia.
Nine will also split the revenue for broadcast television advertising spot sold during the games.
"For us, and for netball, having double headers on a Saturday night in prime time, that's going to change the visibility and profile of the sport and therefore the sponsors of the sport," Nine managing director Amanda Laing told Fairfax Media.
Nine and Telstra will also have rights to Netball Australia's international matches, the Fast5 competition, the Constellation Cup between Australia and New Zealand as well as the Quad Series between Australia, NZ, South Africa and England.
Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer said the new deal was transformative for the sport.
"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."
"This partnership will deliver higher salaries for players, higher distributions to the clubs, enhanced sponsorship opportunities for Netball Australia and individual teams, and unprecedented exposure for netball."
Telstra Media executive director Michele Garra said the telco was excited to have signed the new deal with Netball Australia.
"Our customers have embraced streaming entertainment at home and we are seeing terrific growth in the number of Telstra TVs out in market," Ms Garra said.
"By the end of June, we expect to have more than 200,000 devices in our customers' homes and it's very exciting that we can now give them live viewing of a leading Australian sport straight to their television."
The existing ANZ Championship will discontinue following the current season, with Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand opting to start national leagues in each country. Three additional Australian teams will be entered into the new league.
Netball Australia said the three preferred bidders were Collingwood Football Club, Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club and Netball NSW.
The new league will have eight teams, with the existing five Australian ANZ Championship teams transferring over.
Australian Sports Commission chair John Wylie called this "a red-letter day for netball and women's sport."
"Together with recent developments in cricket and football, these are the dividends of a long struggle for proper recognition of women's team sports. I have no doubt the audiences will flock to the new competition. Netball is ready for the big stage."
Source : smh.com.au