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AFL confirms record TV rights deal

AFL confirms record TV rights deal
April 29, 2011

The AFL has confirmed a $1.253 billion TV rights deal for the next five years, which will see every match broadcast live on either free-to-air or pay TV and online for the next five years.

All games will be shown live on pay TV provider Foxtel, with Network Seven holding the rights to the four premium matches each week on Friday night, Saturday afternoon and night and Sunday afternoon.

Telstra won the online rights with all matches available live on mobile phones for the first time.

AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou said the league would earn $1.253 billion from the 2012-16 deal, including a cash contribution of $1.118 billion.

In comparison, the 2007-11 deal was worth $780 million, including a cash contribution of $749 million.

Demetriou explained "this agreement for the next five years is an important result for the supporters who love and own our game, our clubs, our players, our state and territory bodies, our volunteers and participants at every level.

"Equally, we believe this agreement to be an important result for our partners, so that all AFL supporters across every part of our country are able to watch Australia's leading sporting code at times that suit them, in ways that suit them, across free to air television, subscription television, IP television and mobile platforms."

Network Seven, which first partnered with AFL football in 1957, will broadcast a minimum of four games of live football every week.

The AFL says the deal will mean more live football on free-to-air television than ever before.

AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick stated that the deal will see "our supporters will have better access to live games on TV, better access to live games on mobile phones, better access to live games online, and most importantly that coverage will be better than ever before.

"The media world is transforming; in this transaction we have sought to capture that to benefit football."

Under the 2007-11 deal, networks Seven and Ten both showed two matches each week, with the other four being telecast by Foxtel.

There will be nine games per round from 2012 onwards, with the competition expanding to 18 teams following the inclusion of Greater Western Sydney.

The AFL Players Association is currently in negotiations with the AFL over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with the players pushing for 25% of all major revenue streams.

Seven Chief Executive David Leckie said the network reserved the right to on-sell some of its four weekly matches to another free-to-air network.

The opening bounce of the prime-time Friday night matches has been pushed back by 10 minutes to 7:50pm (AEST/AEDT).

Demetriou said there had been no pressure from broadcasters for the grand final to be switched to a night game or for there to be a flexible fixture, as is the case in the NRL.

At the end of March, financial services company Citigroup warned that broadcasters might struggle to recoup their investment if AFL TV rights reached the $1 billion threshold.



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