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Nine lose 100,000 viewers to Fox for NRL

RUGBY league’s TV war has taken only one night to get brutal, with Channel 9 losing 100,000 Sydneysiders in the NRL season opener.
Battling with Fox Sports for the first time, Nine’s Thursday night broadcast between Parramatta and Brisbane was down 22 per cent in Sydney and 13 per cent nationally on last year.
With an average audience of 334,000 in Sydney, the free-to-air provider was significantly lower when compared to the 2015 opener between Brisbane and South Sydney.
Yet despite the result for Nine, the night represented a huge win for the code as overall audience numbers across both Nine and Foxtel were up 7 per cent on last season.
And just like two boxers raising their hands after the bell, so both stations were claiming the win.
Despite Nine’s loss of viewers, new Head of Sport Tom Malone insisted “viewers have overwhelmingly chosen Nine”.
Malone said any discrepancy on his station’s 2015 figures were due to the Rabbitohs who, apart boasting the biggest membership in the NRL, were also reigning premiers when they opened this season.
Asked about the loss, Malone told The Saturday Telegraph: “Viewers have overwhelmingly chosen Nine’s free-to-air coverage of the NRL over that of Fox Sports.
“Last night’s coverage on Nine had 669,000 more viewers around the country than were watching on Fox Sports.


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