How you'll watch NRL in 2016

HD and ad-free

Trying to catch every NRL game on the big screen in 2015 was as messy as a night out with Todd Carney.

Games were divided up between Channel 9 and FOX Sports, crammed with ads and – worst of all – broadcasts were often delayed.

All of that is set to change in 2016, with new deals guaranteeing an approach that puts the audience first – provided said audience has a Foxtel subscription.

Money talks

A new $1.8 billion deal will see FOX Sports broadcast every single game of the 2016 season live in HD, and without an ad in sight – apart from those littering the field, stadium, and players' jerseys of course.

Games will be held five days a week, from Thursday to Monday inclusive, with eight games in total each round.

Rugby league's traditional TV home, Channel 9, will still get a piece of the NRL pie, albeit a more modest one, broadcasting games free-to-air on Thursday night, Friday night, and Sunday afternoon.

Channel 9 will also broadcast the last five Saturday night games of the season to assist with building momentum in the lead up to the finals.

Telstra, too

Telstra's still in on the action, as well – it is called the Telstra Premiership after all.

The telco's customers will be able to access highlights and replays of all regular games and finals through its IPTV platforms, including Telstra TV, which is scheduled to receive the Official NRL application in early 2016.

Whether the NRL will maintain last year's digital pass deal for its app remains to be seen.

In 2015, footy fans could pay $2.99 per week and watch every game live. They could also enjoy full match replays, an archive of over 400 games from 2012 onwards, as well as live press conferences and scoring highlights.

Either way, 2016 has the potential to be a very good year for the NRL audience. For a game that considers itself "the greatest game of all" – thanks for that, Ray "Rabbits" Warren – it's suffered from some pretty shoddy presentation in the past. Hopefully next year will cast NRL in a more flattering light.

Now, if only we could get the players to behave themselves...