It’s been months in the making but now, finally, the deal has been done to secure the rights to the AFL for the next five seasons.
In a record-breaking $1.25 billion deal, the Seven Network has emerged as the major free-to-air broadcast partner for the 2012-2016 seasons – with Foxtel holding pay-TV rights and Telstra securing online and mobile coverage. The deal far exceeds the $780 million paid by broadcasters for the current 2007-2011 rights agreement.
Under the new deal, Seven will broadcast four of the nine weekly games – utilising both its primary channel as well as its digital multi-channel 7mate – while Foxtel will present live coverage of all nine weekly games and Telstra will broadcast all games via its Next G mobile telephone and T-Box platforms.
For Victorian viewers Seven’s telecasts will include live Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon coverage. NSW, Canberra and Queensland viewers will also get more live coverage via 7mate.
Seven will also broadcast the Brownlow Medal and all finals including the Grand Final. Foxtel and Telstra will also have rights to the finals, excluding the Grand Final, and the Brownlow Medal presentation.
Foxtel’s coverage will also be ad-free ‘siren to siren’, unlike Seven’s, and will include the re-launch of its dedicated AFL channel expected to be offered to subscribers of their current sports package.
Seven also has the option to on-sell any of its four weekly games to either the Nine or Ten networks. The current AFL free-to-air broadcast rights are shared between Seven and Ten, and the two networks had been joint bidders for the 2012-2016 deal until Ten’s last-minute withdrawal from the partnership just weeks ago.