Canberra Raiders’ free-to-air TV games slashed in revised NRL draw

Canberra have learned the hard way that success doesn’t pay with their free-to-air television games slashed from eight to three in the revised NRL draw.

Riding high after reaching last year’s grand final, the Raiders were given their most free-to-air exposure in a decade in the original 2020 draw. However, the revised schedule has forced a rethink, with the loss of six rounds and significant broadcaster input.

It means Canberra aren’t guaranteed a game on the Nine Network after round 10, with the possibility of playing no home games on TV at their own GIO Stadium.

It comes after the club was asked to shift its home ground base to Campbelltown Stadium for the competition restart.

That was despite North Queensland and Melbourne being able to have the sole use of their home grounds.

The Warriors are among the other big losers.

After moving across the Tasman to ensure the commencement of the campaign, they will appear on Nine just once in the regular season.

And even then those who have jumped on the Warriors’ bandwagon will have to wait until round 17 when the play Parramatta to see them on free-to-air TV.

Brisbane are again the winners with 15 games on Nine.

All of those are on a Thursday or Friday night, with the club not fixtured for one day game through the regular season.

Parramatta have the most free-to-air games of all Sydney clubs with 13. South Sydney have 12 and the Sydney Roosters 11.

All figures are based only on the Thursday, Friday and Sunday afternoon fixtures.

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Jarrod Croker won’t be seeing a lot of screen time this season.Source:Getty Images

It is possible Nine could regain their Saturday night simulcast of the 7.30pm game in the final six rounds when a new TV deal is signed.

If that is the case, the Roosters would pick up an additional three free-to-air games. One of those would be against Canberra, taking the Raiders’ tally to four.

Regardless, the new draw comes as a significant hit for Canberra. Raiders boss Don Furner had claimed in November that extra free-to-air games would earn future financial rewards given that greater viewer numbers increase sponsorship value on jerseys.

Manly also suffered a reduced free-to-air television schedule, with their games dropping from 11 to six.

Meanwhile, the NRL has introduced a Sunday night prime time slot for the first nine rounds to replace the 2pm game.

EACH NRL CLUB’S FREE-TO-AIR TELEVISION COUNT

— Brisbane: 15

— Parramatta: 13

— Melbourne, South Sydney: 12

— Sydney Roosters: 11

— Newcastle: 9

— North Queensland, Penrith: 8

— St George Illawarra: 7

— Manly, Wests Tigers: 6

— Canterbury: 5

— Canberra, Cronulla: 3

— Gold Coast, Warriors: 1

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