“It increases the number of eyes and the spread of eyes for teams, which we think is really important in a tough competition.
“Once you move to 18 teams, you have more optionality for how the configuration of those games could be played.”
The NRL is trying to finalise a broadcast deal with a free-to-air provider by the end of the month. Head office is in negotiations with interested parties including Nine, the publishers of this masthead and the incumbent rights holder.
While talks are ongoing about how to add value to the next deal, conferences won’t figure in discussions.
“The key thing is, what do you want to maximise? You want to maximise football equality, everyone playing everyone with some sort of rationality and structure against what we know really works and what fans love; seeing those big rivalry games and seeing games that really matter,” Abdo said.