Epic fortnight awaits as 2020 Origin dates locked in
The ARL Commission has finalised the dates for this year's State of Origin series after smoking the peace pipe with free-to-air broadcast partner Channel Nine.
News Corp can reveal the 40th anniversary of State of Origin will be held over three consecutive weeks on November 4, 11 and 18 with Channel Nine opting for the traditional Wednesday night timeslot.
There was a push for the Origin games to be staged on Sunday nights this year to maximise TV ratings, but the ARLC and Channel Nine have agreed to stick with the existing mid-week formula.
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There were fears Channel Nine could walk away from State of Origin as they assess the value of this year's coronavirus-affected competition, but ARLC chairman Peter V'landys has eased tensions with the free-to-air giant.
A source close to broadcasting talks said while the dates have been locked in, the venues for the three Origin fixtures have yet to be finalised.
The reluctance to formalise venues suggests the ARLC is holding out hope of taking the showpiece event to Adelaide Oval, which was slated to host the series opener on June 3.
It is understood the South Australian government has paid around $6 million for an inaugural Origin game in Adelaide and the ARLC are determined to extract every dollar during the COVID-19 crisis.
By staging the series in November, the ARLC is hopeful the South Australian government will have time to relax social-distancing laws to allow 53,000 fans to flock to Adelaide Oval.
It is unknown where an Origin game will be played in NSW, with the Sydney Cricket Ground scheduled to host cricket's Twenty20 World Cup from October 24. Parramatta's Bankwest Stadium is one viable option for a NSW-Queensland showdown in Sydney.
The one certainty is that Queensland's Suncorp Stadium is available with Suncorp boss Alan Graham keen for the hallowed ground to host two Origin matches this season.
"We're definitely be interested in two games," Graham said.
"If other venues are not available because of cricket commitments then we would definitely be available.
"We will certainly have our hand up for a couple of games and if the NRL is interested, we're here to help."
The NRL grand final will be played on Sunday, October 25, giving any NSW or Queensland players who feature in the decider 10 days to prepare for the Origin series opener on November 4.
Originally published as 2020 Origin dates locked in