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Live VFL to return to 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 its VFL Grand Final win over Box Hill
LIVE suburban football will return to Channel Seven in Melbourne with the network confirmed as the VFL's new free-to-air broadcaster.
 
Under the two-year contract Seven will broadcast the 'match of the round' live every week as well as most VFL finals and the Grand Final.
 
It's understood the games will be shown on the network's main channel, most likely as a lead in to either Saturday or Sunday afternoon AFL broadcasts.
 
It means the VFL may have to bring its start time for some matches slightly forward to accommodate the telecasts.
 
"We're thrilled to be broadcasting more live football to Victorians and adding to our blue-chip AFL and sports portfolio, while complementing our local grassroots football initiatives," Channel Seven Melbourne managing director Lewis Martin said. 

"And we'll do it with the passion, insight and quality that have been the Seven tradition."

The deal signals an end to long running VFL broadcasts on the ABC.

The ABC recently indicated it was happy to let the rights go due to funding uncertainty.

"The televising of Peter Jackson VFL games on Channel Seven will provide an enormous boost to the profile of the VFL competition, the participating clubs and the many young and exciting players that play each week in the VFL," AFL general manager community football operations Grant Williams said.
 
"AFL Victoria would like to sincerely thank Lewis Martin and his team at Seven along with Simon Lethlean and the broadcasting group at the AFL who have helped manage the development of this partnership which will see the free-to-air broadcast of a weekly VFL game on Channel Seven."

The AFL's current broadcast rights deal, which sees Channel Seven broadcast four games a round and all finals, ends after the 2016 season.

The League is expected to open talks for broadcast rights from 2017 onwards soon.