Joanne Mitchell from Ipswich is seen ahead of the NRL grand final between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, October 1, 2017.
Joanne Mitchell from Ipswich is seen ahead of the NRL grand final between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Sunday, October 1, 2017. AAP Image - Dan Himbrechts

Channel 9 accused of grand final kick-off lie

CHANNEL Nine has rejected a report it is responsible for the NRL grand final kick-off time being delayed by 15 minutes.

A report on Sunday afternoon suggested the broadcaster changed the start time from the advertised 7.15pm to 7.30pm to pull in more viewers and sell more advertising in prime time. However, a spokesperson for the network told news.com.au this was untrue and the NRL dictated the kick-off time, which was decided weeks ago to be 7.30pm, despite what was advertised.

The Daily Telegraph reports the NRL broadcaster has pulled strings with NRL officials to move the scheduled kick-off time from 7.15pm to 7.30pm.

It comes after the NRL this week issued official communications and posted on their website on Saturday that the grand final would begin at 7.15pm.

The Sydney newspaper reports Nine have delayed the kick-off time in a simple move to bring in more viewers in prime time and to sell more advertising in prime time.

Daily Telegraph sports editor-at-large Phil Rothfield posted on Twitter to report the NRL and Channel 9 agreed six weeks ago that the grand final would not start until 7.30pm.

Despite this, the nine.com.au and nrl.com both informed NRL fans this week that the game would start at 7.15pm.

It is understood Nine followed the NRL's lead this week when it continued to advertise a 7.15pm kick-off.

The NRL at the end of the 2015 season signed a new broadcast deal with Channel 9 and Fox Sports, which comes into effect from the start of the 2018 season.

Under the terms negotiated in the new deal, Channel 9 will no longer have the ability to have final say on the kick-off times of NRL matches.

Delayed kick-off times are a regular source of aggravation for NRL fans, who have recently been forced to wait for the kick-off times for Friday night NRL games and State of Origin matches.

The pre-match entertainment, featuring US rap artist Mackelmore, is still scheduled to begin at 6.30pm.

The NRL has been contacted for comment.

News Corp Australia


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