Telstra NRL Partnership Marks 20 Years – What’s Next?

Telstra NRL Partnership Marks 20 Years

Telstra’s and the NRL

We have witnessed two decades of Telstra’s partnership with the National Rugby League. That’s a long time – to put it in perspective, imagine the many technological advancements in the past 20 years.

The two-decade time span began long before streaming sport and other entertainment on mobile phones was the norm, but yet Telstra made it work. Now, Telstra have made some changes, but customers will still get great sport deals to stream live NRL games.

In this article, we’ll highlight some of those technological feats that have brought us to this point in the Telstra-NRL journey, and give you the details on what’s next.

A look back at 20 years of Telstra and the NRL

So much has happened in footy in the past 20 years, and Telstra has been with the NRL through all of it.

Remember when the Cowboys finally won it all 6 years ago? That game also market the first time we saw a draw in regulation in the finals, then the Cowboys won by 1 point in extra period. What about the Roosters unforgettable comeback against the Sea Eagles in 2013 – Roosters down 18 to 8 with 25 minutes left, came back in the last minutes of the game to win the Premiership for the first time since 2002.

There are so many footy moments to recount over the past two decades, and Telstra was there for them all. But here are some key tech developments during that period that have led us to where we are now:

  • 2001 marked Telstra’s first year of their partnership with the NRL, and the Knights won that first ever Telstra Premiership, which also had the third highest attendance in history.
  • Fast forward to 2007, when Telstra launched their 5G Innovation Centre, foreseeing today’s 5G phone plans – the same year the Gold Coast Titans entered the NRL.
  • The following year, 2008, the iPhone made its debut in Australia, and the NRL celebrated their Centenary of League.
  • And one of the most significant years, 2014, when Telstra and the NRL launched Live Pass to allow customers stream live footy on their mobile free of charge, kicking off a trend of entertainment mobile plans.
  • Then 2020, when Telstra brought the Women’s State of Origin and NRL Women’s premiership to the Official NRL App.

The history between Telstra and the NRL is long, and it has layed the ground work for what is next.

What’s next for Telstra and the NRL?

The highlight of the Telstra and NRL partnership was the NRL Live Pass, which allowed customers to stream NRL games for free. But things change, and now this has too. Telstra customers will now have to stream NRL games on Kayo Sport.

But the change isn’t bad news. Telstra will be able to simplify its line up as part of its new no frills approach to mobile services, and customers will get hefty discounts on their Kayo subscriptions:

  • If you’re an eligible Telstra customer who has previously used NRL Live Pass, then you’ll get $20 off each month of your Kayo Basic subscription for the next 12 months, which will enable you stream live games on any device. That means your Kayo bill will only be $5 per month, and you get access to about 50 other sport while you’re at it – a whole lot more than NRL Live Pass gave you.
  • And if you’re a Telstra customer who never used NRL Live Pass before, you won’t be left out. You’ll get $10 off your Kayo Basic subscription for the next 12 months.

Final words

Nothing lasts forever – not even the NRL Live Pass. But while it lasted, it was great for fans. Thankfully, Telstra have left us with a viable alternative to Live Pass, with massive discounts for Kayo Basic subscriptions, where live NRL games will be streamed.

Initially, this net step might not sound so attractive to SIM Only customers who had been streaming NRL games data-free on Live Pass for several years. But a deeper look shows Kayo Sports at as low as $5 per month is a huge deal. That’s because of the 50 other sports the subscription includes, clearly putting it ahead of Live Pass games.


Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.