Barely two months ago, Alan Jones wrote that it was “game over” for Rugby Australia and its chief executive, Raelene Castle. He was referring, at that time, to the bruising and costly settlement of RA’s long-running battle with Israel Folau. Today, Jones’s judgment has been vindicated yet again, as RA is dumped by Fox Sports, ending a quarter-century partnership.

Fox Sports is set to walk away from rugby union, ending a 25-year broadcasting partnership that began when the game turned professional.

Sources revealed RA chief executive Raelene Castle and Foxtel boss Patrick Delany have not spoken face to face in weeks, although emails had been traded.


Worse, RA is losing friends, left, right and centre.

The stunning development puts major pressure on rugby, with the game needing an extraordinary new deal to stay afloat.

The existing television deal, signed in 2015 and running through to the end of this year, was worth a total $285 million, giving RA $57 million a year.

However, that deal was bolstered by investment from Britain’s Sky Sport, who added millions to show southern hemisphere rugby. Sky has now pulled back on their level of interest.

[…]The first round matches averaged just 33,000 viewers last weekend, down 19 per cent on round one last year and more worryingly, games with Australian teams were down 35 per cent.

Rugby Australia has failed its code, its fans and its broadcast partners, at every level. Crowd attendances are plummeting. The Folau saga was emblematic of an administration apparently dedicated to ‘progressive’ virtue-signalling, ahead of all else.

Only an insensitive, incompetent and virtue-signalling outfit could have brought rugby to this point […]This administrative shambles is leading us into an economic tsunami.

[…]As one senior sporting official wrote to me: “Rugby is dying a death of a thousand cuts. Attendances, viewership, sponsorship, the interest in Tests and Super Rugby games — all at an all-time low. Success has deserted us […] we haven’t won the Bledisloe Cup since 2002; in the 23 years of Super Rugby, Australian teams have won only four times.”

RA apparently didn’t learn a damn thing from the NFL’s and ESPN’s disastrous fortunes in recent years. The message is as plain as ever: get woke, go broke.

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