Spike TV to air NRL finals

AUSTRALIA'S rugby league finals series will be beamed into almost 100 million American homes after a broadcast deal was signed with US TV network, Spike TV.

Spike will air three National Rugby League games each week beginning September 11 and the October 4 grand final.

"Given the entire population of Australia is only 21 million people, having our play-offs aired in almost 100 million homes on Spike TV is a very exciting opportunity for our game," NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said.

"I have no doubt that Spike viewers will love the physicality, speed, toughness and non-stop action of the NRL."

The addition of rugby league to Spike's TV line-up appears to be a perfect fit, with the network's core demographic young adult males.

Spike's programming is dominated by testosterone-fuelled shows including mixed martial arts bouts and series titled 1000 Ways to Die, Deadliest Warrior, Surviving Disaster and Real Vice Cops Uncut.

Rugby league's profile has received a Hollywood-style boost in recent years with Russell Crowe regularly talking up the sport and his beloved Rabbitohs during US media interviews, including appearances on high-rating TV talkshows hosted by Dave Letterman and Jay Leno.