What do the Raiders have to do to get on free-to-air television?

Tim Gavel 22 May 2020 20
Raiders supporters on mass at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Tim Gavel.

The sea of green and a berth at last year’s NRL Grand Final wasn’t enough to gain more airtime for the Raiders. Photo: Tim Gavel.

The draw for the rest of the shortened NRL season has last year’s grand finalists featured on Channel 9 just three times.

I have lost count of the number of times over the years that I have been approached by Raiders fans complaining (and rightly so) about the lack of free-to-air television coverage afforded the Canberra Raiders.

At times any argument for more televised Raiders games lacked momentum because the team was struggling. This was presented as the reason why the Raiders weren’t broadcast as often as other teams.

The argument shifted when the Raiders started to find success on the field. It was then claimed they didn’t draw the television viewer numbers of lesser-performing Sydney teams.

Again the NRL’s draw for the remainder of the season has the Raiders, last year’s grand finalists and competition favourites, relegated to just three free-to-air games.

Only the Gold Coast Titans, with one game on Channel 9, and the New Zealand Warriors with two, fare worse. The Sharks also feature on free to air three times, the same as the Raiders.

Brisbane has 15 games and Parramatta 13 while last year’s premiers, the Roosters, are featured on Channel 9 a total of 11 times.

Sure, every Raiders game will be on Fox Sports, but the viewership is significantly lower than if it was televised on Channel 9.

There is also the possibility that many fans will miss out on seeing the Raiders play for the majority of the season with home games, for the first nine rounds, played in Sydney (mainly Campbelltown) or Melbourne (round 3 against the Storm on Saturday, 30 May) in front of no crowd.

This, of course, is coupled with the fact that clubs and pubs are closed for the foreseeable future so crowds can’t gather to watch sport at these venues.

In short, it’s a huge financial bonus for teams to be broadcast on free-to-air television with sponsors keen to see their brand on the players’ jumpers.

The obverse also applies for clubs not represented on free to air. It’s an opportunity lost. There’s also the loss in terms of brand awareness for the individual players and the clubs.

To replicate the feat of last season the Raiders will have to do it the hard way with the team, at this stage, having a lot of mainly highway travel in front of them.

If nothing else, it will galvanise Raiders fans. There have been times over the years when the team has performed at its best when feeling as though there has been a sense of injustice.

While they might be feeling unloved by the NRL and Channel 9, that’s definitely not the case in Canberra.

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20 Responses to What do the Raiders have to do to get on free-to-air television?
James Beattie James Beattie 9:17 am 23 May 20

Live and ad free on fox/kayo only way to go. The few games a year on channel 9 are a nightmare. No actual fan of any team wants their games on channel 9.

Andrew Wadey Andrew Wadey 6:27 pm 22 May 20

It's sad but most sports get gobbled up by the Foxtel/PayTV monster as soon as they start to turn a profit so free to air get stuck in a perpetual cycle of making the losses to boost the sport, then getting outbid as soon as it becomes viable. They seem to have less and less appetite for it these days sadly, even ABC and SBS.

Suz Watson Locke Suz Watson Locke 9:47 pm 21 May 20

Screw Channel Nein!

Sebastian Bustamante Sebastian Bustamante 8:18 pm 21 May 20

Any NRL game on Channel 9 is terrible. Thank God for Foxtel and Kayo! I actually prefer watching my Raiders ad and Phil Gould free.

John Dale John Dale 7:58 pm 21 May 20

Make a grand final? Oh, wait a sec. 🤦🏻‍♂️

    John Dale John Dale 8:13 pm 21 May 20

    Greg Simmons the question asked is ‘what do the Raiders have to do to get on free-to-air television’? That’s my answer. But........

    Greg Simmons Greg Simmons 8:16 pm 21 May 20

    Ok...a bit left field. With you mate !😉

Muzammil Ali Muzammil Ali 6:02 pm 21 May 20

End of the day it’s purely about ratings and advertiser pull. Broncos rate, Raiders don’t in rugby league. On the flipside, GWS don’t rate outside Victoria and they get shoved down our throats in this town.

Craig Powell Craig Powell 5:59 pm 21 May 20

Remember the good old days when year after year Channel 9 would say they had to win games to be relevant and get free to air games.

    Kevin Green Kevin Green 1:27 pm 22 May 20

    Craig Powell seeing Brisbane on tv every week has made me like the game less and less. Nothing personal against Brisbane but I would prefer variety

Frank Koch Frank Koch 5:53 pm 21 May 20

And got ripped off even though I’m not a supporter

Andrew Millar Andrew Millar 5:52 pm 21 May 20

They originally had 8 (or more if my recall is correct) which was a huge jump. But now it’s 3. Brisbane have 15! I didn’t mind watching Brisbane lose but the league needs the Broncos to make the finals for monetary reasons.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:30 am 22 May 20

    Andrew Millar Brisbane gets more because of some thing with the 9 contract where they will show Brisbane games in QLD and in the rest of the county gets another game. Ordinarily you wouldn’t see all 15 games here.

Darcy Ryan Darcy Ryan 4:40 pm 21 May 20

It’s just another nail in the coffin of professional rugby league/union.

Game attendances have been sliding for years. League is just copy and paste from one set to the next.

    Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 5:16 pm 21 May 20

    Darcy Ryan

    Raiders attendances are up.

Jeff Smith Jeff Smith 4:33 pm 21 May 20

Sad that those of us without Fox or reasonable Internet devices can’t watch the Raiders.

Worse for my Calwell nephews who are Broncos fans because that’s who they always see on Channel 9. We used to get Raiders home games replayed regularly on local TV before Nine took over.

    JC JC 6:17 am 26 May 20

    Before 9 took over would have been when the Raiders were at their best which would explain the very regular appearances rather than blaming 9.

    This year 1/3rd of the Raiders games were meant to be on 9, again raiders performing.

    The mystery is why in this new draw those 8 games has become 3.

Avril Pounds Avril Pounds 4:28 pm 21 May 20

Bagging out Canberra and our sporting teams is a national sport in itself. Sad, but not surprised that the Raiders get the raw end of the deal yet again.

Kurt Halbauer Kurt Halbauer 4:28 pm 21 May 20

They'd have to relocate to Sydney to get free to air games. Oh wait....

Johno Bakker Johno Bakker 4:19 pm 21 May 20

Six again 😁

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