Telstra is considering terminating its 17-year sponsorship of the NRL

NRL CEO Dave Smith. Photo: Matt King/ Getty.

Australia’s biggest telco, Telstra could walk away from its 17-season long sponsorship deal with the NRL, in a move which would see the well-known NRL Telstra Premiership be renamed.

The Australian reports that the telecommunications giant, which has committed to spending $100 million under its current five-year deal, could end its title sponsor agreement after being blindsided in last week’s deal with Channel Nine.

The Channel Nine broadcast rights agreement is worth up to $925 million, but leaves a question mark over where the other billion dollars is going to come from.

NRL chief executive David Smith has promised a $1.7 billion payday for the code’s TV rights.

It is also reported that News Corp is likely to refuse to match the $530 million sum Fox Sports signed for five exclusive matches a round under the ­existing five-year contract, which ends in 2017.

This week’s AFL mega broadcasting rights deal with Channel Seven, Foxtel and Telstra, worth a record $2.508 billion — the largest commitment to any football code in Australia — is a sign that Telstra won’t be pressured into a deal it’s not happy with.

The Australian has more.

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