Nine prices rugby at $10 a month as streaming sport battle begins

Nine Entertainment Co’s streaming platform Stan is set to unveil key details of its expansion into sport as it prepares to fight News Corp’s Kayo Sports for subscribers.

Stan will confirm on Thursday that it will charge a supplementary fee of $10 a month for access to the Wallabies Tests, Super Rugby, Shute Shield, Wimbledon and the French Open tennis tournament in its first foray into live sport.

Outgoing Nine boss Hugh Marks, interim Rugby Australia CEO Rob Clarke and Stan chief Mike Sneesby announcing rugby’s new broadcast deal last year.
Outgoing Nine boss Hugh Marks, interim Rugby Australia CEO Rob Clarke and Stan chief Mike Sneesby announcing rugby’s new broadcast deal last year.Credit:Rugby Australia

Stan – which is owned by Nine Entertainment, also the owner of this masthead – decided on the cost after price-sensitivity testing. Rival Kayo Sports offers customers packages from $25 a month, but is also launching a freemium model this week in a bid to attract more users.

Nine and Stan secured rights to air rugby union in a $100 million three-year broadcast rights deal in November. It subsequently announced deals for two of tennis’ grand slams as part of a strategic shift into sport.


The sport package, which can be pre-activated from Thursday and will be available from early February, will include a 30 day free trial for users for a limited time and also give them access to historical Wallabies and Super Rugby games. The sport package will only be available to existing Stan users, meaning the minimum total cost for subscribers will be $20 a month.

The Stan Sport “menu” will appear on the streaming service later this week but customers will need to be signed up to the non-sports product to access the content.

Nine and Stan have not announced who will provide the commentary for rugby but it is expected to be a single team across both channels. Stan is also expected to provide extended commentary to subscribers on the platform. Unlike games on Nine, commentary will commence up to 30 minutes before the start of a match, continue during free-to-air television ad-breaks and after it concludes.

Stan chief executive Mike Sneesby said the new product would give customers access to all types of rugby union matches for the first time in history.

The move into sport is significant for Stan, which has more than 2 million subscribers and is valued by analysts at about $1 billion. It is also important for Nine, given Stan is considered one of the company’s key growth assets.

Morningstar analyst Brian Han last year told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Stan’s move into sport would add value to the company.

“Any content that can differentiate Stan from the numerous other streaming operators should increase its value, subject to the price paid for that content,” he said.

The launch of Stan Sport comes as rival Kayo Sports attempts to provide some of its content for free. Kayo chief executive Julian Ogrin launched “Freebies” last Monday, a product which will give non-subscribers access to some events free of charge.

The Mount Panorama 500 and some A-League and Women’s League matches are expected to be put in front of the paywall.

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