The NRL is desperate to return, possibly as early as May 28. It had hoped for the support of Nine, but more work needs to be done.
“Today, Nine CEO Hugh Marks and I had a constructive and co-operative meeting about rugby league in 2020 and beyond,” V’landys said.
“I am buoyed by Mr Marks’ support of rugby league and his commitment to the game. The meeting provided us with the opportunity to outline our positions and discuss next steps to navigate this crisis.
“We are both focused on the long-term success of the game and, while there is more work to do, I am optimistic we will find a way through this together. Our next meeting, where we will endeavour to construct a road map for the game this year, must include Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany.”
On Tuesday morning, Marks walked down to Nine’s office parking lot in Willoughby to inform a Herald photographer and a Nine cameraman that V’landys wasn’t coming.
V’landys, knowing Nine had previously been irked by details of confidential meetings being reported in the media, wasn’t about to spill the beans.
“Confidential,” was all he said when asked if the meeting was still going ahead.
Soon after, Marks hopped in a taxi bound for Druitt Street in Sydney, the head office of Racing NSW.
When he left 90 minutes later, Herald photographer Louie Douvis asked Marks how the meeting went?
Marks shrugged and said: “Peter is a nice guy”.
Nine wanted answers on a few key items. The first is an indication on what V’landys intends to do about the NRL’s “bloated head office”. There is no doubt V’landys will change that.
Nine also wants the NRL to use the break to come up with fresh ideas to rejuvenate the game for the long-term benefit of the code and clubs.
Probably the most important point is Nine will sit down with Fox and talk about the current deal.
Nine has an agreement with Fox, which pays the free-to-air network for the rights to simulcast games. Nine is expected to adopt a less-is-more approach, hoping for more exclusive and in-demand content.
MORE TO COME
Michael Chammas is a sports reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald