One of the more low key pieces of good news yesterday came as Russell Packer's future took a nice turn into the NRL-land. After serving time for assault, pretty much upon his arrival in Australia, Packer was in danger of joining Australia's seemingly never ending list of deportees. Australia's got something up its backside and is on a roll, flicking criminals out of their hands all over the show (lol, a country of crims kicking out crims!? Never!), so for Packer to get the tick was a nice way to finish off 2015.
A large part of Packer's approval was the work Packer had done to go above and beyond in showing that he's rehabilitated. Packer not only proved that he could integrate back into society - a foreign society in a country that's nice enough to offer him a professional sports career - Packer appears to have completely flipped the script. I've seen pictures and videos of Packer working with all sorts of kids in the Wollongong area where he'll play with the St George Dragons, he's studying there as well.
Why do I love this story? Any time an athlete of general human commits a crime, does the time and is able to re-integrate into society, full rehabilitated and ready to contribute to society is great. I love seeing prison or the courts do their job in giving a criminal a lesson and a chance to figure things out, so for that to happen near flawlessly with Packer, who is also a kiwi just makes me happy.
What hasn't made me happy for a number of years now is the lack of sport on our free-to-air TV channels. Just as I had an epiphany about the criminal system, reading of the Australian Rugby Union's new broadcasting deal made me think back to other broadcasting deals from 2015 with the NRL and AFL also signing new deals.
What do they all have in common? Besides all that cash, the presence of a compromise between free-to-air and pay-TV (Fox Sports) has me feeling all types of envy. The ARU signed a deal for $285 million over four years (2016-2020) with Fox Sports getting all Super Rugby games and Tests played in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. That's the status-quo in a kiwi context but with Channel Ten to simulcast any Wallabies Test and then take Super Rugby into free-TV lounges across Australia means that rugby will enjoy a greater share of the sporting market in Australia.
Channel Ten will play a 'match of the round' on Sunday mornings as well as a highlights show on Monday nights, which isn't much but it's a whole lot more than what we get here in Aotearoa.
Another interesting note on this deal is that the revenue figure ($258milly) isn't close to that of the NRL or the AFL yet it is an 148 percent improvement on their last deal. This means that rugby is enjoying a bit of a resurgence in Australia and it will be interesting to see how the Wallabies' World Cup run impacts support for Super Rugby early next year.
Jose Mourinho got sacked...
If you've made it this far you deserve some Steven Adams in your day...