Monday Buzz: Biggest opportunity in NRL history
May 28 presents the biggest opportunity for the NRL in the history of rugby league.
The clear airspace in sport across Australia, New Zealand and other countries is worth tens of millions of dollars in this once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase the game.
People who have never watched rugby league will check it out.
The three-time-a-year State of Origin viewers in the AFL states will watch more regularly.
Fox League and Channel 9 will smash their regular ratings.
(And we'll even have an excuse for 65,000 empty seats on a Thursday night at ANZ Stadium.)
Peter V'landys has given every sporting official in the country a lesson in proactive administration to drive the comeback plan so hard, as long as the priority was always health and safety.
The AFL are about a month behind. Soccer and the A League haven't got a clue.
Super Rugby has been abandoned in its current format.
V'landys always knew the value of getting a jump on his rivals.
There's also the jersey sponsorship exposure and ground advertising that goes to new eyeballs.
"One thing I learnt in racing with The Everest, it's far more valuable to have it when there's no rugby league or AFL or any competition," he said.
"If we ran the race in autumn against the footy codes there would only be half or even a quarter of the interest."
Racing is getting a gigantic boost now as the only live show in town.
Turnover with corporate bookmakers (the best barometer) is up by 50 per cent. Sky Racing has been the highest rating channel on Foxtel every Saturday for five straight weeks.
V'landys uses a couple of department store giants as an example.
"If you've got David Jones and Myer next to each other they're competing for the same customers," he says, "If one closes down, the other one gets all the business."
We spoke to legendary AFL commentator and Collingwood boss Eddie McGuire to get an idea of how many Victorians would switch on the NRL on Thursday in three weeks.
"If there's a game on with clean air everyone will want to watch it," McGuire said. "Fox Sports will go berserk. Plus the news coverage and value it gets outside of the actual game will be huge."
Eddie gives a great example of the opening round of the AFL that was beamed into the United States at a time when most other sports had shut down.
"While I was calling it on Fox Sports, I got a text from News Corp boss Robert Thomson in the U.S.," he explained, "So I gave him a shout out on air. Then all these Americans, watching for the first time, lit up our social media.
"It's great to be in the spotlight and reach so many people internationally, not just across all the states of Australia."
McGuire refuses to be critical of the AFL for being left behind. He points to the different restrictions in Victoria and Western Australia.
"AFL will be up in mid-June and it will be huge to have them both back," he says, "It really underlines the cultural significance of NRL and AFL. It's a kick start to the economy and to life. Both codes have such a major role to play in that regard."
Originally published as This is the biggest opportunity in NRL history