Nine and the NRL anger fans with 8pm start for Origin on a Sunday night
Nine and the NRL anger fans with a Sunday night start at 8pm for Origin – the LAST start for a huge sporting event in the world
- Fans have criticized Nine and the NRL for hosting Origin late on Sunday
- The biggest game in rugby league between NSW and QLD kicks off at 8pm
- Except for the Champions League final, no match will start at a later time
- Peter V’landys admitted that the NRL has little influence on the kick-off time
Rugby league fans have accused Channel Nine and the NRL of being ‘out of touch’ after hosting State of Origin II at a controversially late hour in Perth.
New South Wales are desperate to keep this year’s series alive in Western Australia after suffering a surprise 16-10 defeat to Queensland in the series opener in Sydney earlier this month.
And the game’s broadcaster, Nine, opted to broadcast the game Sunday evening at 8 p.m. eastern time, ostensibly to reflect the game’s box office success.
Fans have expressed anger at Nine and the NRL for wanting to host Origin II at such a later hour
Unsurprisingly, a number of fans have expressed anger at the decision to step up the game at such a late hour. Other than the Champions League final – which started later this year on Saturday night than its scheduled 8pm start time – no other major sporting event is held at such a late hour.
For example, Super Bowl LV started at 6:40 PM, while the FA Cup final kicked off in London at 4:45 PM. Wimbledon, the most important Grand Slam in world tennis, holds its men’s and women’s finals in the early afternoon.
‘Can we discuss the start of origin at 8 o’clock on a Sunday evening?’ asked a fan on Twitter.
The hard-fought rivalry kicks off this year at 8pm in Perth on a Sunday night
Only the Champions League final is played at the same time compared to other major events
“Another 7:50pm kickoff (Yeah I know it’s in Perth) just goes to show that this is not in contact with the fan,” a second added.
Don’t understand why the Sunday #origin game isn’t played every year at 4pm. (2pm in Perth is still fine). It could be in the news for precious nines ratings and not half of Australia falling asleep at halftime,” a third wrote.
Another said: ‘Tonight’s #Origin game ends well after midnight in NZ, on a school night. Yes, I know it’s @NSWBlues v @QLDmaroons, but do they want to push the sport or not? Kiwis v Tonga Test started at family friendly 5:20 pm.’
Supporters took to social media to blow up the NRL and Nine for late kick-off
Nine have paid $570 million to air the series, and while NRL chief Peter V’landys admitted he understands fans’ frustration, he insisted that the network has the most say over when the game airs.
“When you sell broadcast rights, you have to balance the commercial rights of your partners and take care of the fans,” said V’landys.
“We respect Nine’s commercial opportunities that come with presenting State of Origin and Mike Sneesby (CEO of Nine) in particular is a fantastic partner to work with.
“But without fans there is no game and I definitely want to take care of the fans. I’ve been saying for a long time that we want a kid-friendly time and we’re definitely going to talk about that.’