Sportsbet Finally Seals Australian Rugby League Partnership Deal with Nine Network

Paddy Power’s Sportsbet has finally sealed the National Rugby League (NRL) sponsorship deal, which the Australia-based sports booking company, has been negotiating with Nine Network since October of 2013. The sports booking company replaces Tom Waterhouse as the new official betting partner of Australia’s Channel Nine TV network, and for  the forthcoming 2014 rugby league matches, which will kick off on March 06.    

Although for Aussie bookmakers, the NRL is not as widely patronized as far as wagering on match results and other contingencies are concerned, because it represents only five percent of their sports betting revenues. Nevertheless, the Australian NRL is one of the greatly attended and highly viewed professional rugby football competitions throughout the globe, particularly by the mainstream demographics of the wagering industry, the male adults.

Sportsbet, commits to tread this particular advertising route lightly and vows not to duplicate Tom Waterhouse’s superfluous commercial broadcasts last year, which elicited the ire of millions of rugby league fans. The fans’ anger turned into a nationwide uproar and subsequently led to stern governmental restrictions that banned the promotion of live odds during ongoing match broadcasts from anywhere near the game field, and/or while acting as member of a commentary panel.

Although the NRL-Nine Network partnership deal will cost Sportsbet as much as AU$40 million, Marketing Director Barni Evans says, the company intends to keep visibility at a minimum and will assume a silent partner role; not only because of the restrictions but also out of respect for the rugby league’s viewing public.

On the other hand, William Hill, the new owner of Sportingbet’s sports wagering division and Tom Waterhouse’s online booking agency, disclosed plans of simply buying TV ad spots in promoting the brands during the NRL season matches.