NRL: Canberra Raiders aiming to get more free-to-air TV games under new broadcast deal

The Canberra Raiders have supported the end of Monday night games under the new television broadcast deal.

The Raiders are also pleased they can directly appeal to the NRL for games on free-to-air television without having to go through Channel Nine.

Four live matches will be shown on free-to-air television every week when the new $925 million broadcast deal begins in 2018.

Those games will be on Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

It’s expected there would be an extra game added to Sundays.

Furner said Sunday afternoons is the Raiders’ preferred timeslot for playing home games to boost crowds.

“An extra Sunday game is better for us because we’ve always wanted extra Sunday games in winter,” Furner said.

“Monday night is a very tough night to get people out there especially when we get the games in August.

“We’ve got the toughest fans in the NRL given the conditions they have to sit through to watch us.

“It’s an even tougher ask to come out on a Monday night in winter.

“One of those going and coming back to a Sunday is beneficial for us.”

Monday night’s game against the Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium is two fixtures in that timeslot the Raiders have in August.

The other is against the Penrith Panthers on August 31.

The Raiders have traditionally had the least amount of games on free-to-air television, which affects the amount of money they can generate in sponsorship.

They have had only three games on free-to-air television this year and their only game against the Newcastle Knights was shown in the prime-time Friday night time slot.

Furner said the fact the NRL will have complete control over the scheduling would work in the club’s favour.

“This way, we can lobby the NRL and show them what our whole regional reach is – this is what we rate on Fox, this is what we rate on WIN TV,” Furner said.

“At the moment, Channel Nine’s major drivers are Brisbane and Sydney; they don’t own WIN TV.

“NRL have a broader interest in the game’s reach than Channel Nine would have had because they have to worry about ratings in Brisbane and Sydney.

“We’ll be able to get our message across to the NRL about the ACT and regional NSW, which is the heartland for our fans.

“It’s better for us and the fans.”

The NRL’s deal with Fox Sports is yet to be finalised.

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