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A major coup: The NRL’s Vegas season launch will be on national TV in the USA


NRL Las Vegas TV deal

The NRL’s heavy-hitters have landed another massive coup for the sport, with a landmark NRL Las Vegas TV deal for the league’s upcoming showcase event.

With the NRL heading across the Pacific to open the 2024 season, league executives Andrew Abdo and Peter V’Landys have secured a prime-time slot for the Las Vegas double-header on Fox Sports in the United States.

Expected to bring in over 100 million additional viewers to the two games, the NRL Las Vegas TV deal is being described as one of the biggest broadcasting coups in the code’s 115-year history.

It’s been reported that the NRL had been in ‘high-powered’ negotiations over the past few months in an attempt to expose the game of rugby league to a whole new market.

Fox Sports, who are owned by the Australian Murdoch family, played a big role in the NRL getting the prime-time slot on Fox Sports 1, due to the support of News Corp chairman Lachlan Murdoch — a Brisbane Broncos fan.

With the NRL Las Vegas TV deal confirmed and ready to go, here’s everything you need to know about the opening to the 2024 NRL season abroad.

NRL Vegas
NRL Las Vegas TV deal
NRL Las Vegas TV deal will showcase the four NRL teams to the US for the first time live.

What is the NRL Las Vegas TV deal?

News broke in late-November that ARL chairman Peter V’Landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo had landed a huge broadcasting deal for the Las Vegas double-header, with Fox Sports 1 in the United States to show the games live.

It marks the first time in the code’s history that an NRL game will be broadcasted live in prime-time on Fox Sports 1 – the most popular sports network in the US.

Although it’s a paid television network, it reaches over 90 million people in America, and expands out to around 137 million if you include Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

What makes the NRL Las Vegas TV deal even more of a significant broadcasting coup, is the fact that the early-March period is a dull one in US sport.

The NFL season finishes with the Super Bowl on February 11 and Major League Baseball doesn’t start until March 20, leaving a wide open spot for desperate sports fans to watch something new and exciting.

If this NRL Las Vegas TV deal works, it could seriously lead to the league cracking into the American sports market which is worth hundreds of millions in broadcasting rights and revenue.

Andrew Abdo, state of origin, NRL
Andrew Abdo: One of the heavy-hitters behind the NRL’s broadcast deal

Have the NRL released advertisement in the US?

Yes they have.

In November the NRL began rolling out its ads for the Las Vegas double-header in the US, centred around the physicality of the game.

Here’s the advertisement for the NRL Las Vegas games:

How can you watch the games in Australia?

Foxtel, Kayo and Channel 9

Just because the NRL is trying to expand into the United States doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten the loyal fans back home in Australia.

As per usual, Fox League (which you can watch live and on-demand via Kayo) will broadcast both games, having exclusive rights to the first match between South Sydney and Manly.

Channel 9 will then televise the second game (Broncos vs Roosters) on national television but it won’t be exclusive.

What are the NRL games in Las Vegas?

For the first time in the NRL era, the rugby league season in Australia will begin with a double-header in Las Vegas.

The new broadcast deal will show the matches happening at Allegiant Stadium live across the US, hopefully exposing the code to a whole new demographic.

NRL Las Vegas fixtures:

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles vs South Sydney Rabbitohs, Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas), Sunday March 3, 1:30pm AEDT

Sydney Roosters vs Brisbane Broncos, Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas), Sunday March 3, 3:30pm AEDT

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