Sunrise host Nat Barr has jokingly cut short her interview with a high-profile guest over his repeated claims.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys is in Washington after he was invited to attend a White House state dinner, hosted by US President Joe Biden, as a guest of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Nat Barr ‘cuts to commercial break’ over guest’s claim.
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V’landys headed to the United States to spruik the NRL’s Las Vegas experiment, with four clubs scheduled to kick off the 2024 season in the city.
“I tried to talk him into coming to Vegas in March to see the greatest game of all,” V’landys joked of discussing the NRL with Biden.
“He showed a bit of interest so hopefully he may be our very special guest at the double-header!”
V’landys’ presence in the US comes a week after a bold NRL advertisement was first splashed across Allegiant Stadium, the NFL ground hosting the season-opening matches.
Allegiant Stadium’s external big screen advertised the NRL as ‘Australia’s biggest sport’. Credit: Getty
The image declared “Australia’s biggest sport” would be unleashed in Vegas next year.
That claim set off a wave of debate as AFL fans got involved, with V’landys sharing the metrics behind it on Sunrise.
“It’s very easy. The most watched sport in Australia is rugby league – in a season – by a country mile,” V’landys said.
“Measure it by the eyeballs of the sport, rugby league is way ahead and no one can argue with that, so the sign is extremely accurate.
“My friends down south (in Victoria) should put the toys back in the cot, especially Jeff Kennett. I don’t think he’s got many toys left he’s thrown so many out.
“We are the most viewed sport in Australia, the sign is correct, and they should pick their game up.”
But questions remained.
“Ok, because I can just hear my Channel 7 bosses in my ear, they’re kind of yelling at the moment, they’re yelling at me something about TV ratings,” Barr laughed.
“They’re saying something like 3.5 million for NRL, 3.8 million for AFL and then they’re yelling really loudly that the Matildas got 7.1 million. So where are your figures coming from, Pete?”
Nat Barr did her best to question Peter V’landys’ claims. Credit: Sunrise
V’landys pointed to his key disclaimer words – in a season.
“That’s the whole year, not just a few games like the Matildas. It’s a complete season,” he said.
“Tell your bosses that there’s more stations than just Channel 7 and they should come and bid for rugby league, they should get the State of Origin.
“Then they will have the biggest sport in Australia rather than that, what do they call it, FLA? AFL? Or whatever it’s called, I’ve forgotten its name.”
Barr joked: “They’re now yelling even louder as you speak.”
“I think we better go to a commercial break,” she said before offering her congratulations on the White House dinner.
V’landys replied: “Well, say hi to Mr Warburton for me, he’s a very good CEO – but come and bid for the NRL! We’re ready whenever he is.”
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