Interplay not surprised by Google’s play for NRL rights

The NRL have reportedly approached Google to lodge a bid for the rumoured $1.5 billion deal to broadcast rugby league in Australia.

Google would broadcast live NRL matches on YouTube,however, would not be able to have exclusive rights to broadcast the matches due to Australia’s free to air quotas and anti-siphoning laws.

If successful in winning the bid, it is understood that Google would then on-sell the rights to the TV networks, with matches being split across different free-to-air stations.

The potential deal has grabbed headlines across the Australian media landscape.

However, this is not Google’s first foray into securing live sports broadcasting rights in Australasia.

Google made a deal for the live online broadcasting of All Blacks games in 2013 and also agreed to a deal for the YouTube broadcasting of the IPL Twenty20 cricket competition.

But even earlier than that, Google had ambitions to grow YouTube through live sporting telecasts.

Interplay Media were approached by Google in 2011 to acquire the broadcasting rights to the International Body Boarding (IBA) Association World Tour. Managing Director of the IBA, Gregg Taylor was one of Interplay Media’s first clients, back in 2011 when the company began.

Google’s strategy of going after live sports rights is not new, having started plans back in 2011, and it is only set to grow.

This is indicative of the shift by consumers from their television sets to online media.