The AFL has secured the financial future of the game under a $1.253billion TV rights deal with Channel Seven, Foxtel and Telstra.

Thursday, 28 April, 2011

Foxtel will re-establish a dedicated AFL channel under the new $1.253 billion AFL media rights deal for 2012-2016 announced by the AFL today in conjunction with the Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra.

Tell us what you think about the new deal

The dedicated AFL channel will be in addition to other AFL coverage on FoxSports 1, FoxSports2 and FoxSports 3 as the pay-television provider shows every game every weekend live right across Australia.
According to an AFL media release issued late today, the new media rights agreement will see an unprecedented amount of live football shown to more parts of Australia, across more platforms than at any time in the game’s history.
The Seven Network will broadcast four matches of each nine-match round during the Toyota AFL Premiership Season on free to air television, as well as all finals matches.
Foxtel, on subscription television and IP television, will broadcast every match of every week through the premiership season live, as well as all finals matches through the Toyota AFL Finals Series, with the exception only of the Toyota AFL Grand Final.

Every match of every week of the Toyota AFL Premiership season and all finals up to the Toyota AFL Grand Final will be broadcast live in every state.
Austar will have the same rights in its markets.
Telstra will broadcast every match of every week through the premiership season, as well as all matches through the Toyota AFL Finals Series, live on its mobile platform.

For Queensland AFL fans, all this means:-

• A minimum of four matches per week on free-to-air TV, with all matches shown live.
• All nine matches per week live from FoxSports on Foxtel and Austar and Fox IP Television.
• One match per week live on IP Television via Telstra.

In more specific details:-

• Every game will be shown live on Foxtel and Austar, and on Telstra Mobile.
• All 42 matches involving the Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast Suns broadcast on free to air television multi channels, either live or on delay. Home matches near live on free-to-air and live from Fox Sports on Foxtel and Austar.
• Fright night matches live on free-to-air  multi channels and live from FoxSports on Foxtel and Austar.
• Three Sunday matches played. All matches to be shown live from FoxSports on Foxtel and Austar. One match shown live on free-to-air multi channel.
• Two Saturday night matches played. Both matches shown live from FoxSports on Foxtel and Austar. One match shown live on free-to-air multi channel.
• Two Saturday afternoonmatches played. Both matches shown live from FoxSports on Foxtel and Austar. One match shown live on free-to-air multi channel.
• No matches lost to black spots on Saturdays or Sundays, with all matches broadcast live into the state from FoxSports on Foxtel and Austar.

Importantly, the AFL premiership season will consist of at least 22 rounds of nine matches played over at least 22 weeks.

A standard AFL round, with first bounce times in standard eastern time, will look as follows:-

• Match 1 – Friday night – 7.50pm – 8.40pm if played in WA or SA.
• Match 2 – Saturday afternoon – 1.45pm.
• Match 3 – Saturday afternoon – 2.10pm.
• Match 4 – Saturday twilight – 4.10pm-5.40pm.
• Match 5 – Saturday night – 7.10pm-7.40pm.
• Match 6 – Saturday night – 7.10pm-7.40pm.
• Match 7 – Sunday early – 1.10pm.
• Match 8 – Sunday afternoon – 3.15pm.
• Match 9 – twilight – 4.40pm.

AFL Queensland CEO Richard Griffiths described the deal as “a breakthrough moment for AFL fans in Queensland”.

“It is a massive fillip for the game to have Friday night football live on free-to-air television for the first time in addition to every home-and-away match for the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns,” he said.

“I want to congratulate Andrew Demetriou and Gillon McLachlan of the AFL on the wonderful job they’ve done, and thank them on behalf of football fans in this state,” Griffiths said.

In the AFL media statement, AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the AFL was delighted to reach agreement with the Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra after a long negotiation period, and the Commission now looked forward to the next step in the game’s expansion with the support of outstanding broadcast partners.
Mr Fitzpatrick said the need to provide an improved TV outcome for all football supporters across the country was a guiding principle throughout the negotiations.
“This is a landmark agreement that will take the game to more people than ever before, in ways never seen before. It is a great deal for football and a great deal for football supporters who remain the heart and soul of our game,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.
“The strong financial result also means that we can work with our clubs, our players and our state and territory bodies on a distribution of that result which ensures everyone benefits while also ensuring we continue to keep admission prices, memberships and Auskick registrations affordable to all families.
“In the next five years 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 at any time in the game’s history,” he said.
As well as delivering more live football to more people in more ways than ever before, the agreement will deliver $1.253 billion to the game, as a combination of cash ($1.118 billion) and contra support.
Mr Fitzpatrick thanked AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou and Chief Operating Officer Gillon McLachlan and the broadcast team, including AFL General Manager of Business and Legal Affairs Andrew Dillon, Head of AFL Media Broadcasting Sam Walch and Broadcasting, Scheduling and Legal Affairs Manager Simon Lethlean for their work in concluding the arrangements.
AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou said he wished to thank each of the broadcast partners for their continued commitment to Australia’s leading sporting code, and said the AFL was delighted with the outcomes achieved in the new agreement.

• Showpiece matches on both Friday night and Saturday night would now be shown live or near live across most regions of Australia.

• On free to air television, Friday night football will be telecast live into Victoria, Queensland, NSW, the ACT and Tasmania, near live into SA and on a reduced delay, due to time zone difference, into WA.

• The matches shown on free to air television on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon will be broadcast live nationally, on either primary or multi channels by state, while Saturday afternoon matches will be broadcast live in Queensland, NSW and the ACT on multi channels and on delay in Victoria, SA, WA and Tasmania.

• As part of the free to air arrangements, supporters in Queensland fans will see the Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast Suns for all matches. Similarly, in New South Wales, the GWS Giants and the Sydney Swans will be seen for all matches in that state, South Australian fans are guaranteed of being able to see the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide on free to air television for all their clubs’ matches, West Australian fans will see West Coast and Fremantle for all matches,

“In addition to our unprecedented coverage on free to air television, Foxtel will provide every match of every round of the Toyota AFL premiership season live on both subscription television and IP television,’ Mr Demetriou said.
“Under this agreement, we will end the blackspots in South Australia, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia where some matches were not accessible on television.
“In addition, as we step into the 21st century with new forms of communication and delivery of sport, Telstra will have the rights to show every match of every week live on the mobile platform, as well as at least one live match per week on its IPTV platform,” he said.
Mr Fitzpatrick and Mr Demetriou said the AFL would continue with the task of working with the clubs, AFLPA and other stakeholders to provide a distribution that fairly rewarded players, supported the long-term health of all clubs in the competition, provided state leagues with funding to support volunteers and ensured supporters continued to enjoy affordable admission and membership prices.
“This agreement provides an opportunity to provide rewards for our players, who are the stars of our game, our clubs, who are the lifeblood of our game, and for our fans, who are the heart and soul of the game,” Mr Demetriou said.
“The AFL will continue to develop pathways for the next generation of our stars, will continue to invest in communities across the country and will continue to play a leadership role across all parts of society.”
Mr Demetriou said the Federal Government had been briefed at every stage of the discussions and that the final deal was in accordance with the commitments given by the AFL to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and the Prime Minister Julia Gillard to the anti-siphoning legislation.
“At all stages we have kept to the commitment we gave our fans and the Federal Government to ensure games continue to be available on Free to air TV while expanding the reach and method of delivery of AFL football to those people who want to watch all games live. The Government should be applauded for getting the balance right,” Mr Demetriou said.
“We look forward to the continuation of an outstanding 2011 season that has started so well on the field, and then stepping into a new era from the start of next year.”
Mr Demetriou also extended his thanks to Network Ten for their involvement in broadcasting AFL over the past 10 years and said they had made a valuable contribution to the growth of the game through their match broadcasts, promotion and support with other football programming.

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