- Historic new broadcast rights deal worth a staggering $2.5 billion
- The new deal is led by Foxtel, Channel Seven and Telstra and starts in 2017
- AFL confirmed every game will be available live for fans across country
- Media billionaire Rupert Murdoch says ‘we’ve always preferred’ the game
The AFL has announced a landmark new TV broadcast deal worth more than $2.5 billion.
The new six-year deal, which will begin with the 2017 Premiership Season and will be spearheaded by Channel Seven and Fox Sports, was revealed in a joint press conference at AFL House in Melbourne, Victoria.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced the deal, saying it will be worth $2.5 billion and it will ‘give (the AFL) a chance to invest in the future’ and ‘stay strong and help the game grow’.
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The AFL has announced a landmark new TV broadcast deal worth more than $2.5 billion
The AFL will continue to push to create a new time slot, with up to 12 games to be played on Thursday nights
McLachlan also confirmed fans in New South Wales and Queensland will be able to watch their local teams live on free-to-air television.
Telstra maintained its status as the league’s internet broadcast partner.
McLachlan appeared at the press conference with AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson, Seven chairman Kerry Stokes and Telstra chief executive Andy Penn.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the deal will ‘give (the AFL) a chance to invest in the future’ and ‘stay strong and help the game grow’
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch said the deal is a ‘significant investment’ in Australia’s ‘premiere sporting code’
Mr Murdoch described the new deal as a ‘significant investment’ in Australia’s ‘premiere sporting code’.
‘Our company has a long and highly valued relationship with the AFL, and has followed and reported on the game since its inception in 1858,’ he said.
‘Aussie Rules continues to be a centrepiece in all our newspapers, Fox Footy, Fox Sport Australia and Foxtel. This deal secures and builds that relationship well into the future.
‘This is a very significant investment for us. We’ve always believed that this is the premium code in Australia – it’s the national game.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced the league’s new $2.508 billion broadcast rights deal
Rupert Murdoch (middle) joins AFL chiefs Mike Fitzpatrick (third from left) and Gillon McLachlan (left) and Channel 7 network’s Kerry Stokes (second from left) and Robert Thomson (right), to announce a new broadcast deal for telecasting the AFL
‘We’re very happy to be doing this. We believe in the strength of the game and we’ll do everything we can to make it stronger.’
The billionaire-businessman also denied the deal was a form of payback, after Channel Nine signed a new deal with the NRL last week.
Mr Murdoch has a history with rugby league in Australia, after he famously kicked off the ‘super league wars’ by attempting to start a rival league after unsuccessfully trying to win the NRL’s broadcast rights.
Rupert Murdoch listens on during the press conference announcing the AFL’s massive new broadcast deal
News Corp is also the controlling owner of the NRL’s Brisbane Broncos.
The AFL agreement comes just a week after the new rugby league deal with Nine was announced, which is worth $925 million.
Informal negotiations with broadcasters began last year, to replace the current five-year deal worth $1.258 billion.
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