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AFL looks to extend Seven Network broadcast deal

AFL looks to extend Seven Network broadcast deal
August 16, 2019

The AFL is reported to be considering an extension of its long-running broadcast rights deal with commercial broadcaster the Seven Network.

As reported by Melbourne newspaper The Age, AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan is weighing up a further two-year deal with Seven that would extend the two parties’ relationship until 2024.

The AFL's current deal with longstanding partner Seven, pay-television operator Foxtel and telecommunications company Telstra - agreed in August 2015 - for domestic broadcasting rights covers the 2017 to 2022 seasons.

The rights were sold for a total of $2.508 billion, a 67% increase on the 2012 to 2016 cycle.

Seven is paying $840 million in cash and $60 million in contra for the rights, with Foxtel paying $1.3 billion and Telstra paying about a reported $300 million.

Commenting on the move, Australasian Leisure Management Publisher, Nigel Benton stated “the AFL looking for an extension to its existing broadcast deal, rather than a new deal, would seem to suggest that, in the changing broadcast market, the game is not confident of securing massive revenue rises as it did in 2015.

“With new broadcast platforms emerging and the loss-making Foxtel fighting for its future, the AFL is going to have to be cautious about its revenue expectations from future broadcast deals.

"Sports wanting to succeed in this increasingly mobile-focused world are going to have to pay more attention to over-the-top (OTT) and direct-to-consumer (DTC) distribution outlets as well as social media channels. The days of relying on free-to-air television broadcasts are over and sport is going to have to focus on digital content that can be delivered via alternate technologies."

Released last month, the 2019 Global Video Trends Report, by cloud video specialists Grabyo, suggests that global sports organisations should move away from pay-TV exclusivity to maximise their audience growth as DTC and premier social media options continue to grow in demand.

The report emerged following Seven Chief Executive Tim Worner resigning from his position on Thursday, being replaced by James Warburton.

Image: AFL at Sydney's Giants Stadium.

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