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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Australian Rugby League Poised to Take on Vegas

Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) will make history this weekend when it heads to the home of the 2024 NFL Superbowl, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, to stage the league’s first-ever season opener played for premiership points outside of Australia or New Zealand.

Sponsored by telecommunications company, Telstra, Round 1 of the NRL will see two matches take place in Las Vegas – Sydney teams the Sea Eagles and the Rabbitohs, followed by Sydney’s Roosters vs Queensland’s Brisbane Broncos. The first match will be televised in Australia via subscription services Kayo and Foxtel, while the second tussle will be available via the Nine Network, Nine Now, Kayo and Foxtel.

As the Las Vegas venue would suggest, however, the target audience for this year’s opening NRL is the American sports fan. In terms of stadium audience, the NRL is aiming for some 60,000 attendees. US television viewers, meanwhile, will be able to catch the NRL doubleheader live on the Fox Sports’ FS1 channel and the FOX Sports app. The matches are also available to other foreign territories via

The Fox Sports Australia commentary team will include Yvonne Sampson, Lara Pitt, Braith Anasta, Paul Kent, Matty Johns, Gorden Tallis, Bryan Fletcher, Nathan Hindmarsh, Mick Ennis, Andrew Voss, and Dan Ginnane.

Joint US-Australian production expertise for the match coverage will include NEP (US and Australia), Fox Sports (US and Australia), Broadcast Sports International, Orange County-based CT Sound and Lighting, Filmworks, an array of US and Australian freelancers, Beverley Hills Aerials for drone shots, and social media producers.


Match coverage at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium will feature some 19 camera positions, fixed, portable and remote cameras.

1Wide followUHD 27:1Manned4K / 125 Shutter
2Medium FollowUHD 100:1Manned4K / 125 Shutter
3Tight followUHD 100:1Manned4K / 125 Shutter
4Portable near sideUHD W/AManned4K / 125 Shutter
5Cam left near cornerUHD 100:1Manned1080P / 3 x SSM
6Cam right near cornerUHD 100:1Manned1080P / 3 x SSM
7Cam left far cornerUHD 100:1Manned4K / 125 Shutter
8Cam right far cornerUHD 100:1Manned4K / 125 Shutter
9Portable far side – RF XDUHD W/AManned4K / 125 Shutter
10Host set Cam leftUHD 22xManned4K / 125 Shutter
11Host set centreUHD 22xUn Manned4K / 125 Shutter
12Host set Cam rightUHD 22xManned4K / 125 Shutter
13Home dressing room AWIDERemote P&T4K or 1080P
14Away dressing room AWIDERemote P&T4K or 1080P
15Home dressing room BWIDERemote P&T4K or 1080P
16Away dressing room BWIDERemote P&T4K or 1080P
17Host areaWIDEManned / JIB4K / 125 Shutter
18 a/b/cPresser / Player warm ups / Comm box pre gameUHD 22xOperator repoPortable 4K
19DRONEZOOMManned1080p fibre drop












Meanwhile, ‘NRL 360’, Fox League’s flagship news show will be televised live from an outdoor covered stage at Resorts World Las Vegas on the corner of Genting Boulevard and South Las Vegas Boulevard, across from the Trump International Hotel. Five cameras and one drone will capture both hosts and ‘studio’ audience during the show.




















Transmission from Allegiant Stadium will be in both HD and UHD. The UHD Service (3840 x 2160p @60p) will be provided by Telstra Global. Audio will be in Surround Sound, along with a stereo mix. The HD service (1920 x 1080p 60i) will be sent from the venue to Switch LA which will produce an HD FOX 1080 60i feed, an HD Fox Clean feed and an HD World Feed (1080 60i). HD SNG facilities will be provided by Arctek Satellite Productions to provide a FOX backup feed.


Speaking at a Business Sydney function late last year, Chair of the Australian Rugby League Commission, Peter V’landys, outlined the NRL’s strategy to overcome the limitations of scale with current audiences.

“I went overseas to try to sell the NRL broadcast,” said V’landys. “We wanted to get competitive attention, naturally, to maximise the return on the broadcast. And we went to Amazon, we went to Facebook, we went to Twitter, we went to all of them. And they all said, ‘what’s the population of Australia?’ And, I’d say 26 million. They said, ‘see you later’. I said, what do you mean? They said, ‘You’re so small-scale, there’s 40 million in California. Why would we be bothered with somebody with 26 million that’s just not in our market? We’ll do a revenue share, you pay for production.

“But, they made me think they’re right. We’ve got no scale in Australia. And then I looked at the population in America, it’s 340 million people. And we have an app in America that we sell, which is an NRL app that you can watch every game. It’s a $160 subscription. And I worked out that if we could get 0.1% every year of the population in America, we would generate $650 million in additional broadcast revenue. Even if we got half, that’s 300 million. Now, in order to do that, you need a good partner, which we do with Fox. And if we can get Fox to show us on Fox One in America every week after we’ve promoted it at Vegas, I think it’s got an unlimited potential, not just for rugby league but for all sports in Australia, to sell to a scale that’s much bigger than what Australia will ever be.

“And, if it works, then you can try other big populations like India or China or those places where there is scale. Australia has a very small population, so if you want a big market, you need to look elsewhere, and that’s why we’ve looked at the US. And I’m very confident that if we do it right, and it all comes back to implementation, if we do it right in America, we can be talking billions of dollars in 10 or 20 years.”


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