Seven signs new $730m AFL deal

Minutes before the 2020 AFL season returned last night, its broadcast partner Seven announced a new deal, securing the sport’s rights until 2024.

The deal sees two extra years tacked onto the existing agreement between Seven and the AFL and will result in $87m of ‘net benefits’ for the broadcaster over the existing contract period (2020-2022).

Seven and the AFL are partners for another five years

Foxtel has also signed a new contract with the sport, with AFL boss Gillon McLachlan confirming a 12-13% discount had been provided. The agreement comes after a long back and forth over the price for the rights, following Nine and Foxtel securing a rumoured 30% discount for the NRL broadcast rights.

The revised five-year deal sees AFL take $730m for the five years – an average of $146m per year.

Seven boss James Warburton said the broadcaster was delighted with the new deal.

“The AFL and Seven are a core part of each other’s DNA, and we are delighted to have not only reached a revised agreement for the current contract term, but to have extended our relationship for a further two seasons taking the agreement through until the end of 2024,” said Warburton.

“I’d like to thank AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and the AFL commission for their commitment which gives certainty to both parties over the next five years.”

Seven will also air the NAB AFLW seasons.

AFL commission chair Richard Goyder said the agreement would bring greater certainty and security to the football community in what is expected to be a difficult economic period as both sporting organisations and media companies adjusted to the changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I just want to thank our long-term broadcast partners Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra for their ongoing support and commitment to Australian football at all levels of the game,” Goyder said.

McLachlan said the extended agreement reflected the confidence in the game.

“We are really pleased we have reached agreement with both broadcasters over the remaining three years of the agreement and extended our partnership with Seven Network for two years,” McLachlan said.

“It has been a challenging period for the game and will continue to be but, we are incredibly fortunate to have long-term broadcast partners who share our commitment to expanding our game and our reach to an ever wider audience. This deal only adds to our confidence in the ability of the industry and is a key pillar in the industry working its way through this challenge.

“This is a good outcome for football, our partners and our supporters. While we are still working with Governments around the country on a return to crowds, our broadcasters become even more important in presenting our game and we are thrilled with the work that our partners are doing to enhance the presentation for fans.

“The reality is that despite this arrangement and the extension by Seven Network, our football
community still faces significant financial challenges over the coming years and we must remain vigilant on balancing investment in the next generation of participants and players while maintaining discipline on costs.”

AFL’s partnership with Telstra remains unchanged.

Seven’s chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette has already promised record-breaking ratings for the season, calling last night’s match between Collingwood and Richmond the ‘most anticipated match this century to date’.

Last night’s match drew just over 1m metro viewers and 1.275m nationally. The AFL season has been shrunk to 16 games and a four-week finals season, finishing with the grand final on October 24.


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