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VFL and WAFL set for Channel Seven in 2015

Footscray players celebrate winning he VFL Grand Final match between the Footscray Bulldogs and the Box Hill Hawks at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on September 21, 2014. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Footscray celebrates after winning the 2014 VFL premiership against Box Hill
THE VFL and WAFL look set to follow the SANFL onto commercial television in 2015.
 
The government-financed ABC has confirmed it's not in a position to commit to broadcasting state league matches next year in the midst of funding uncertainty.
 
"The ABC has always indicated that it was unable to commit to new seasons until the current budget situation was resolved and indicated it would not stand in the way of those respective leagues looking elsewhere," an ABC spokesman told AFL.com.au.
 
Being on a commercial network would enable both the WAFL and VFL greater exposure for their respective sponsors, because the ABC is strictly prevented from showing advertisements.
 
Channel 7 successfully took over televising South Australia's state competition this year, with improved ratings, a promotional boost and enhanced production values on one of its digital channels.
 
The South Australian broadcasts, featuring veteran commentator John Casey and former SANFL stars Mark Soderstrom and Tim Ginever, almost doubled in average audience from the year before on the ABC.
 
In 2014, SANFL broadcasts averaged around 31,000 viewers compared to 16,000 the year before.
 
The SANFL Grand Final, where Norwood beat Port Adelaide by four points, had an average audience of 129,000 viewers.
 
Seven is believed to be seriously considering using its digital channels in Victoria and Western Australia to broadcast at least one state competition match each weekend to complement its AFL coverage in those markets.
 
It's too early to speculate on commentary teams, but it's uncertain whether there'd be a position for the long-time face of VFL telecasts Phil Cleary.
 
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire's production company McGuire Media produces the SANFL broadcasts for Seven and AFL.com.au has confirmed negotiations for a similar arrangement are underway in Victoria and Western Australia.
 
It's understood no contracts have yet been signed.
 
Channel 7 and the AFL declined to comment.