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AFL secures A$2.5bn rights deal

Australian Rules Football will reap a major financial windfall after striking what it describes as a “colossal” new six-year, A$2.5 billion (€1.6bn) broadcast rights agreement.

The new deal announced by the Australian Football League (AFL), which will run from 2017 to 2022, will see Channel Seven, Foxtel and Telstra continue as the League’s broadcasters. The current deal expires at the end of the 2016 season.

The existing deal was effectively worth A$250 million a year; the new deal is 67 per cent bigger at A$418 million a year.

Under the deal:

  • Channel 7 will broadcast matches in HD free-to-air from the start of the new deal in 2017.

  • The AFL retains full control of the fixture, including whether the Grand Final is scheduled as a day, twilight or night match.

  • The AFL fixture will remain at 22 rounds, with nine games each weekend.

  • Outside of Thursday night matches, public holiday and bye/split rounds, the competition will feature:

    • One Friday night match

    • Two Saturday afternoon matches

    • One Saturday twilight match

    • Two Saturday night matches

    • Two Sunday afternoon games

    • One Sunday twilight game

  • Foxtel will continue to broadcast every game, except the AFL Grand Final, live on pay-TV.
  • Foxtel holds the right to sub-licence one game per round each weekend in the Saturday 3.20pm AEST timeslot to a free-to-air provider, if it chooses.
  • Telstra will once again hold the rights for hand-held devices, AFL.com.au and the club digital network. Telstra will broadcast every match on mobile devices.
  • The League struck the existing five-year, A$1.25 billion agreement in April 2011, less than a year before the deal came into effect for the 2012 season.

The new agreement comes a week after the NRL confirmed a new four-year, A$925 million agreement for free-to-air TV coverage with the Nine Network. The NRL hopes its total broadcast rights deal will be worth around A$1.7 billion once a pay TV deal is reached.

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