General Dave Smith NRL CEO Thread

They're copping it right now because the public can see the attempt to make the NRL look silly. I don't disagree with you there. But the league public is tired of the current administration and the way the sport is being run. Rule changes, refereeing, video use, lack of expansion, Origin scheduling et al.
You said yourself about his acquisition of Channel 10 - what happens when that is finalised? Between 10 and Fox he might be able to create a model for a 12-16 team comp that sees the clubs get significantly more than what the NRL is proposing. He doesn't need to pay through the roof like he did in the mid 90s with Super League. He just pays market value for a comp he has complete control over. Channel 9 and the NRL could be left in the dark. Fox can wait for two years too - they won't lose subscribers so long as they have it on their screens. They are guaranteed that until end of 2017. The NRL needs to get these clubs over the line and some serious planning underway well before then. Fox can afford to wait it out longer than the NRL can. The only risk is that the value of the rights go up but with the free to air deal done, the only realistic pay tv operator in town is Fox and you can probably do the math using supply and demand rules etc.
Fox look like sore losers right now but in the end it will be the NRL that loses.
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Jordan G

You sound like a News journo, that's some serious fear mongering with little to back it up.

AFL has been pumping millions and,millions into 'rugby league heartland" for years and it's gotten them nowhere.Let them keep pumping, just like the people have been harping on about "rugby league should do this and that before we lose our heartland" BS for years. Remember early 2000's when it was Union that was going to kill our heartland. What a load of crap.

Also, "the public" line really needs to be given a rest because it's wearing thin. Fans complain, they always have and they always will no matter how good or bad things are. It's just a cheap way to generalise things. It's always the vocal minority who get given the largest amount of credit and this is no different. All week News has been copping it and there's been a lot of support for Smith. There's nowhere near the amount of fan discontent as you're attempting to portray.
You sound like a News journo, that's some serious fear mongering with little to back it up.

AFL has been pumping millions and,millions into 'rugby league heartland" for years and it's gotten them nowhere.Let them keep pumping, just like the people have been harping on about "rugby league should do this and that before we lose our heartland" BS for years. Remember early 2000's when it was Union that was going to kill our heartland. What a load of crap.

Also, "the public" line really needs to be given a rest because it's wearing thin. Fans complain, they always have and they always will no matter how good or bad things are. It's just a cheap way to generalise things. It's always the vocal minority who get given the largest amount of credit and this is no different. All week News has been copping it and there's been a lot of support for Smith. There's nowhere near the amount of fan discontent as you're attempting to portray.
The numbers disagree mate - AFL just got a huge TV deal - let's see how the NRL one compares. Stadiums are embarrassingly empty, the tv figures are down comparatively. Yes Origin rates its ass off but the week in week out stuff is not delivering. The NRL hand picks one-off games like the Broncos v Roosters game the other night to use as examples but how did every other game rate this season? There is apathy in the circles I move in towards the game now. I am a news journo but I'm not writing this in a place to sell copies - I'm offering it up as a fan on a fan forum because that is my honest, humble opinion. Fear-mongering? Not at all. I love my footy - like most of you i sit down each Fri night, Sat night and Sun arvo to watch and like the rest of you, just calling it as i see it. I hope I'm wrong and you're right - i don't want the sport to suffer but I don't like the way it is going and I think this threat has potential to very real if the NRL isn't careful. Rugby is a cot-case in Australia and has been done no favours by NZ Rugby. The AFL is a different beast - it already pisses over all other codes in every city barring Sydney and Brisbane. Are you telling me that GWS has made no difference to the league clubs in Sydney's west? That by the time we get 10 years down the road, that many kids that otherwise would have been rugby league fans are actually more into AFL in that area thanks to their presence? If it takes 20% of the sports market in Western Sydney that isn't a concern? Try being the sponsorship bloke at Penrith or Parramatta or the Tigers and see what impact it has had. If they get to the Central Coast or Central Queensland before rugby league - what impact will that have on both sports there? One has an elite presence and the other doesn't. The best two teams in the AFL this season are the two West Coast teams - that doesn't bode well for rugby league ever trying to break into Perth does it? Certainly makes it much harder. What if the AFL goes to Canberra or Newcastle, pours money into the franchise, underwriting them to the cows come home to ensure they eat into rugby league there. Could either the Raiders or Knights actually withstand that at the moment? I'm not sure.

Jordan G

That's a lot of hypotheticals and what ifs, but again I feel you're focusing too much on the worst case.

On Foxtel Saturday the Warriors V Cowboys game rated 248k, even NRL fulltime rated higher than St Kilda V Geelong, a game between two traditional Melbourne teams.

Swans V GWS - Hello heartland stealing 60k. (Re-runs of the Simpsons rate higher)
Lions V Adelaide? - 75k

So what if the Perth clubs are the best two teams. Look at the Lions. I live in QLD, I was here when they were the all conquering team with three premierships. It hasn't made the slightest difference. The Gold Coast is a sport team sinkhole, no matter how much either AFL or NRL pump into it the GC is not a place where people go to watch sport.

Regardless of whether NRL Clubs are unhappy with Dave Smith or the NRL body, they nearly all unanimously rejoiced when we removed the first and last rights option from the last TV negotiations, we were finally free of being compromised by News LTD essentially low balling us because they had their people in control of our game. There's zero chance that those same clubs then turn around and say "yeah sure we'll join Channel 10/Foxtel, please control us again Mr Murdoch". It just won't happen. They may make idle threats, but it won't be hard to see through it.

so for me the chance of a breakaway is so close to nil it's almost not worth mentioning (hence my largely dismissive demeanor on the subject). I'm just as confident that the number of angry clubs (if any) is much less than the 12 being reported. All the NRl has to do is increase the licenses of half of them and the rest will fall into line. Hell, there's far too many clubs in Sydney/NSW IMO so if a couple want to be stubborn then so be it,

The other thing is that year in and year out over half of Fox's top rated programs are NRL, not AFL. The only reason we dropped below the 50% mark this season was because of the cricket world cup, not AFL. There's no way Fox walks away with no NRL AND an overpriced AFL budget when you can guarantee them losing a lot of subscribers without the NRL.

Foxtel has already responded to Netflix/Stan and other streaming services by A) Creating their own aligned with 7 which will prove to be a money sink in itself as it's currently by far the least successful (at the moment), and B) cutting the Foxtel subscription prices in half to try and entice new customers (they're coverage over Australia remains stagnant as it has for the last decade). They can simply not afford to lose the NRL which despite the constant articles from Rupert stooges in the Telegraph/Australian etc is still comfortably their ratings winner.

Finally there may be bad blood, but this is the other reason why getting this out of the way early is smart. We had Kerry Stokes and Murdoch shaking hands at the announcement of the TV deal. Good lord if those two can do a deal then I think we'll be able to sort something out within the two year time frame. The NRL will be fine. It's going to take a lot more than a little extra cash to make an impact over a ten year space. Let's not forget that the AFL's rights are over 6 years and the NRL's 5 which and that 2.5billion includes 300 million from Telstra who have already made it clear they want to retain the NRL rights and while they are the dominant telecommunications company in Australia, unlike Foxtel they do have competition to consider.

If anything it may require expansion to get what the NRL believes the TV deal is worth. Who's to say it won't be us taking that 20% market share in WA in ten years time? Plus, despite the best efforts of NRL clubs to step all over the international game, we still have far more value, growth potential and presence outside of Australia than the AFL will ever have.
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I hear what you're saying but the other thing of concern here is the way non-Fox media (including the hardcore league journos) seem a little worried about this. There is certainly some rubbish being printed by News Ltd but when their rivals are showing some amount of worry I'd have cause for concern. We will see no doubt.

Jordan G

Will be an interesting circus that's for sure (and it's more likely to get played out over a longer time period because of it).
I know there is a lot of pressure on Smith now that the AFL deal has been rushed through but he would have had to present the deal to the Commission to sign off. The deal has obviously had consequences looking at how Murdoch has reacted. Smith is obviously used too doing big deals and some of his quotes since taking on the job he has said there would be changes to the broadcasting deal from what they learnt from the last deal. He said there would be more money and more control for the NRL. So far after selling half of the rights they are on track for that.

Not negotiating with the other broadcasters probably wasn't the best move unless the Channel 9 deal was too good to turn down and came with a deadline.

There have been rumours Smith will move on after the broadcasting deal. Now if he does the deal early and screws it up so he can move on then the clubs have reason to be annoyed at Smith and the Commission.

Murdoch has said they would deal with the NRL down the line. There is plenty of time to sort out the deal. Will he be as pissed off by then? who knows but he still needs the NRL which brings in most of their ratings in the big Sydney market.

Murdoch made his money from news papers and Pay TV. He's been cursing how the internet has driven down newspaper sales for years when you could browse the news online for free. The pay walls on his papers he has wanted for years. Now with streaming services coming in how we view media content is changing so his other money earner is now under threat.

If the NRL can't work something out with News Ltd this would be the perfect time to look at new technology to deliver their product. Other companies (UFC and WWE) now have their own streaming services to deliver content to their audience. The sporting world could be heading this way. They would be selling direct to their customers. There would be other costs if you take the broadcasters out of the picture; for example you'd need to sort out filming and commentary etc.
This is probably the best article on the fallout from the broadcasting deal and the Super League 2.0 talk.

Super League II? Please. But big questions remain for Dave Smith and the NRL
August 24, 2015 - 4:23PM
Andrew Webster

Intense scrutiny: NRL chief executive Dave Smith faces a big challenge. Photo: Peter Stoop

Forget about Super League Mark II. It won't be happening. There will be no rebel league or civil war.

But there can be no hiding from the fact rugby league will be white-knuckling for the next six months in the most important period for the game since the independent commission was formed in February 2012.

Whether ARL chairman John Grant or chief executive Dave Smith have a job at the end of it will be interesting, because Rupert Murdoch will want a stick with a head on it, Game of Thrones-style, if peace is to be reached.

Let's put some of the bullshit and agenda aside, for a moment, and consider what's really going on.

Smith signed a $925 million deal with Channel Nine boss David Gyngell from 2018 just over a fortnight ago.

It was considered then – and still is – a superb victory for the game. Four premium matches, in prime-time, live, on free-to-air. More eyeballs than ever before will watch rugby league, under a draw where the NRL decides which team plays each other, and where and when.

Sound like a dud deal to you, Mr and Mrs Rugby League Fan?

But it came at a cost.

Smith just poked the biggest bear known this side of Holt Street, with Murdoch and News Corp blowing as much as "$300 million to $400 million" in its deal with AFL a week later just to make a point.

Because he can. Because he is Rupert Murdoch. He's a very big bear.

When you go to war with Murdoch, you need serious support, and that's where Grant and Smith are struggling for friends.

Smith has done a deal with Gyngell for a competition that effectively only has four clubs secured to it.

Those four clubs are funded by the NRL – Newcastle, Wests Tigers, Dragons, Gold Coast – and they re-signed beyond the current television broadcast deal.

There are 12 remaining clubs that have increasingly felt unwanted, unloved and – most importantly – underfunded for too long.

Naively, Smith thought they would all follow. Now they are holding out, engaged in the same standoff with Smith not too dissimilar to the one Smith is having with Murdoch.

The NRL knows it, too.

News Corp reported on Monday that Grant was feverishly calling club bosses, looking for support. It is understood he was also asking some clubs to sign agreements binding them to the NRL competition from 2018.

"Why would we do that?" one club boss told this column. "We haven't seen what the rest of the broadcast deal would be."

There have been growing murmurs about breakaway leagues from some dissatisfied club bosses for some time. They are just theories and rhetoric.

You often hear these whispers around the time new club agreements are about to be signed, and they want more funding.

The last time they were as angry as they are now was 2011, just before the independent commission was to be formed.

As half-owners of the game, News Corp was furious the clubs had dare to ask for more.

It bleated that the clubs were trying to "blow up" the commission on the eve of its formation. The clubs hit back, arguing they simply wanted more funding so they could survive.

The disconnect between the commission, NRL administration and the clubs might be about money again, but it goes far deeper.

There is certainly a belief among the stronger, well-run clubs, that head office has looked down its nose at them from day one. That the NRL considers them adept at running footy clubs, but not a business. The reality is they are both.

Smith, with a banking background but no league knowledge, has been highly critical of the manner in which the clubs have been run. Given how many of them have run to him with cap in hand for funding to survive, he could make a strong argument.

But not all clubs are basketcases. And when you start telling the likes of the Roosters and Bulldogs - headed by heavyhitters such as Nick Politis and Ray Dib – that they don't know what they're doing, there will be blowback.

The NRL is nothing without their clubs. They are its lifeblood. The players are the most important commodity, followed by the fans. But clubs bring them together.

Now, Grant and Smith need their support, because there's a bigger picture forming here.

Murdoch and News Corp no longer have the stranglehold on rugby league they've enjoyed for more than two decades. It's been interesting to see how poorly they've reacted to it.

When the NRL announced its deal with Nine, the fingers were immediately pointed at former chief executive Kim Williams, who conceded first and last broadcast rights until the end of 2027 when the previous broadcast deal was done.

Then Murdoch arrived in town, and felt so chastened by Smith's deal with Gyngell that he stayed in the country a little longer to secure and announce the AFL broadcast rights for Fox Sports.

When Murdoch said he considered AFL to be "the premium code", it exposed precisely what it has always been to him: a vehicle for profits.

Smith knew there would be consequences, waiting for the obligatory stories in News Corp publications slamming him and his administration. And, of course, calling for his head.

Almost nobody at League Central was around during Super League Mark I. They've been stunned at the ferocity of the attacks. Those who remember the original war have barely batted at eyelid.

Bullshit aside, here's the deal.

Smith must secure about another $1 billion for the remaining half of the broadcast deal from 2018.

He's going to need much of that from Murdoch's Fox Sports, which also needs rugby league as much as rugby league needs his dollars.

Who will blink first? The banker or the very big bear?

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Warriors Orange Peeler
NRL boss Dave Smith will deliver TV goods says leading digital media expert
Last updated 09:12, August 27 2015

Getty Images
NRL boss Dave Smith has held off on signing their next digital rights deal.

The extraordinary growth in Australia of online streaming service Netflix, who have emerged as a key player in negotiations for the digital rights of rugby league, is a sure indication the NRL can double AU$925 million (NZ$1.02 billion) they have already banked under their new broadcast deal.

That is the opinion of a leading digital media expert, who predicts NRL boss Dave Smith will silence his critics and deliver the game a $1.85 (NZ$2.04 billion) billion bounty to the game's coffers.

Damian Damjanovski, lead strategist at strategic agency Common Ventures said sport is the "next huge step" for streaming services aiming to monetise the Australian market.

Smith signed off the free-to-air TV rights for 2018-2022 to Channel Nine two years ahead of time earlier this month in a deal that guarantees four games a week to viewers.

That money might not have been available in future years given the continued slide in viewers the commercial networks can command.

But former banker Smith has held off on signing away the digital rights in the belief they will only increase in value over the next two seasons, as the likes of Netflix, Google, who own YouTube, and even Apple look to cash in on the advertising opportunities available.

Former NRL CEO David Gallop was heavily criticised by some who felt the current digital rights deal was undervalued when signed over to Telstra. Smith stands to do far better.

"Music is crowded, they can't make money out of news, so sport is the next big revenue stream for the megaplayers such as Amazon, Google and Apple," Damjanovski said.

"The value of the digital rights will only continue to increase over the next two years. And as they do I see the NRL matching the deal they already have signed with free-to-air TV."

Damjanovski points to the growth of Netflix, who have amassed one million subscribers since launching in Australia 12 months ago, as a guide to where viewer habits and advertising money are heading.

That growth coupled with Fox Sports' monopoly on Pay TV coverage perhaps being challenged by the likes of ESPN and the emerging beIN Sports, a subsidiary of Al Jazeera Media Network, is set to boost the total broadcast revenue.

However this is likely to be the last time such broadcast negotiations are held, trumpeted and scrutinised so publicly.

"From 2023 onwards there won't be any more negotiations, the NRL will deliver its product, directly to the patron," Damjanovski said.

That means footy fans will buy games direct from the NRL.

But that remains years away. In the meantime, Smith has two years to impress disgruntled clubs with the figure he can negotiate.

"Negotiations are continuing," an NRL spokesman said.

"The focus on those negotiations will be to deliver the best deal for the fans and the game."
This Discussion should be highlighted at the moment,

So many issues with Dave Smith at the moment, Smith's idiocy around the digital rights is a complete fiasco,streaming in this Country is abysmal in so many areas, the data charges on the NBN are horrendous and based on speeds, and while some of the country can enjoy reasonably fast speeds most can't.

Alienating the only Pay TV broadcaster that can ensure delivering a package that is viewer friendly is about as smart as his reply to the current prescription medication issue, which he believes isn't a problem, the Telegraph headline says it all, NRL Prescription drugs leaves Dave Smith looking Dopey
It looks like Fox are now going to invest heavily in AFL and leave League to it's own devices. It's going to be a nightmare trying to watch delayed streaming Rugby League here, at least NZ has ultra fast networks huh.

Expansion will not happen because of the way he has negotiated this package with nine, the deal is based on 8 games a week, what a Cockhead.?

When he 1st took the job he claimed he would double Club membership, has that happened? We now have a dozen or more administrators that earn over $500k, we have a CEO that hands out jobs for mates and then we have broke Clubs that have to get loans to bail themselves out and are now under the control of the NRL.

Don't get me started on his sterilisation of the game, the wanker.

The sooner this bludger and his banker mates get shown the door the better because the longer he is, the more damage this imbecile does to our game.
Dave Smith Has Quit as NRL CEO

..Party time ??

DAVE Smith has quit after a tumultuous three years as the boss of the National Rugby League.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal he is scheduled to inform staff at League Central headquarters and the game’s key stake holders at 10am today that he would be stepping down from the chief executive officer’s role.

NRL chairman John Grant will take over Smith’s responsibilities as interim CEO.

The independent commission will undertake a world wide recruitment search to identify a new leader before the start of next season.

The breakdown in broadcast rights negotiations and an unsettled relationship with NRL clubs was believed to be the pivotal reasons behind his decision to leave.

Smith only recently told the Daily Telegraph that he had no plans to quit but pressure over his failure to complete a $1.7 billion TV and digital broadcast rights deal forced him out.

Key broadcast executives were not prepared to negotiate with him after his decision to sign a five-year free-to-air television deal with Nine while snubbing Fox Sports.
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Can the CEO override the board or does the CEO carry out the board/commissions expectations in the best way he sees fit?

I really hope this isn't due to certain Sydney club influences
So we won't be seeing Benji Barba on any billboards next year?

The amount of politics in league in Australia I'm not surprised the CEO position we have a bit of churn 3-5 years would probably be the limit. The media don't want to go to the manager in charge of the particualr area they want to go to the CEO, the club coaches, CEO's and chairman all want to bark at the guy at the top.

We want someone who knows business. We get restructured as a business every league identity complains. The game doesn't have any cash reserves; a big surplus goes into a cash fund. Why can't we get that money.:banghead:

There have been a lot of rumours about his exit for a while. Even a year or so back that he'd leave after the new broadcast deal, Well he's half completed it. Kind of like me with painting my fence.;)

It will be interesting what caused this. There have been rumours of dissatisfied clubs (they'll never be happy), annoyed News Limited to the point they wouldn't negotiate with him, not speaking with John Grant and they have different views on expansion.

I personally don't mind the staff numbers at the NRL have increased. It is a billion dollar business. Clubs complaining the NRL is running some clubs well get yourselves sorted out, the NRL isn't a bank.

There was a report a few days ago that a second Brisbane side could bring in another $200 million. Maybe expansion could be on the cards to help get News Limited the number of games they want in terms of the new broadcasting deal.
Jim Doyle must be in the picture for the CEO's job. Would be a great accomplishment on his part if he ended up back there as top dog but I would be absolutely gutted for the Warriors if that was the case. Things are starting to align for us and then the guy driving all these changes ups sticks for Sydney.
Jim Doyle must be in the picture for the CEO's job. Would be a great accomplishment on his part if he ended up back there as top dog but I would be absolutely gutted for the Warriors if that was the case. Things are starting to align for us and then the guy driving all these changes ups sticks for Sydney.

Just to add to the conversation dude I would bet real money that Raelene Castle to become next CEO of NRL. Typical Aussies though instead of congratulating her on becoming first woman to run NRL they would instead make more of issue out of her being Kiwi. They do I think she should relocate Knights to Christchurch just to shut them up ... ;)
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She has to be one of, if not the, front runner for the role. Aside from the fact that she has been fairly impressive in a tough gig as Bulldogs boss she ticks the box that is being a female CEO. Sadly the NRL is not one for quietly going about making positive change without making it blatantly obvious what they're doing (getting more females into positions of power). That would be unfortunate because she would be a worthy candidate on merit rather than on gender.
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