Recently NRL made a decision to extend their current deal with SportsBet that will continue through until the year 2020. The NRL has face some criticism from the Australian operator.
Even though the deal is supposed to infuse the NRL with $60 million in funding, many people wonder if the deal NRL has left a large sum on the table.
CrownBet, Chief Executive Matthew Tip, has expressed disappointment over finding out that SportsBet had contained the rights without participating in a competitive bidding process. According to reports he has stated, “The offer from CrownBet would have been materially higher. All we wanted to see take place was a process where we were given a seat at the table. That process hasn’t taken place and we are bitterly disappointed by that, but we’ll fight on”.
Many industry experts have estimated that CrownBET’s presence during the bidding process might have caused the deal’s price tag go up to $100 million.
Since SportsBet has the exclusive rights to advertise sports betting services to the NRL audiences through Channel Nine and Fox Sports along with radio stations, both SportsBet and CrownBET had shown an interest in pursuing the sponsorship deal. However, the last remaining online sports betting services that is owned and operated in Australia is CrownBET. For some, it would only make sense for CrownBET to partner up with the NRL. Tripp told the Sydney Morning Herald that patriotism and pride in his company’s reputation might have influenced CrownBET’s to attain a bidding strategy that is aggressive.
Tripp has stated to the Sydney Morning Herald, “Given the fact we’re the last Australian operator in the land and it’s gone to an Irish operator, the profits are not retained in Australia. We won responsible service operator of the year, for good reason, because of our service of responsible gambling, which would have been the crux of what this agreement was going to be about. For a host of reasons, we should have a seat at the table.”
The deal’s lack of transparency is another reason why there is controversy about it. During the fiscal year in 2015, the NRL had a deficit that was under $18.7 million. Internal forecasts, predicted future loses, for certain reasons. There has been at least one NRL club owner who has anonymously expressed disappointment about the multi-million dollar deal obtained by failing to listen to CrownBET’s offer.
Tripp mentioned that SportsBet would have got the rights anyway, but however, wishes that they would have at least paid the right amount if the process would have been proper.
A spokesperson for the NRL has made a statement. The SportsBet deal was praised in the statement. “This agreement with SportsBet is not just about revenue, it is about responsible gambling, marketing, promotional, and digital benefits as well. And we have secured more than $60 million for the game at all levels. We already had a partnership with SportsBet and this renewal is an outstanding result for the game.”
Many wonder what more would come out of this deal. Of course, everyone hopes that the extension would lead to better gambling. One of the important factors about this deal is that there will be limitations on promotion of wagering, especially for minors. Another important factor is that SportsBet will be funding and implementing a lead for responsible gambling. For those who are concerned about the high gambling addiction rate would definitely love this. Especially since many think that their government has not done enough to help the gambling addiction issue in the population.
The extension of this deal is expected to help the NRL gain more fans. As a matter of fact, there has already been an increase in support for the league. Barni Evans, who is the Sportsbet chief marketing officer, has stated that there has never been more interest in the Ruby League. There has been an increase in ratings, crowds, and memberships. Since they all have been increasing, he has been more than delighted to partner up with them.
There is a good chance that it could be a huge advantage for both the NRL and SportsBet. A lot of money is expected to be generated from the extension deal. With the way SportsBet has been experiencing a lot of success, it should not be a surprised if this becomes a very huge long term success. Will the controversy aspect of this deal die down soon? This is an answer that no one can surely answer yet. One thing is for sure besides satisfying those who wants more concern to be expressed about problem gambling, it will continue to spark an increasing amount of interest in the NRL. This is a deal that can push the gambling excitement in Australia further.