The AFL has announced it has reached agreement with its broadcast partners, Seven Network and Foxtel, on a revised arrangement for the 2020-2022 seasons as well as signing a two-year rights extension for the Seven Network.
The Seven Network will extend their partnership with the AFL to cover the 2023 and 2024 Toyota AFL Premiership seasons and 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.
Mr Goyder said the agreement was a good outcome that reflected the strong relationships that existed within the sport. "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," Mr Goyder said.
AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon 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," Mr 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.
"Our partners understand the challenges we face and we certainly understand the challenges they are facing at the moment and that's why we are really pleased to agree a solution that balances the needs of the football community and the needs of our broadcast partners.
"We are also pleased that this agreement reflects the confidence that we all have in football and the future of our game as we continue to work together to ensure our sport at all levels returns to where it was before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
"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."
Mr McLachlan said the revised five-year deal with Seven for 2020-2024 was for $730 million or an average of $146 million per year for free to air rights.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan thanked Kerry Stokes and Ryan Stokes and CEO James Warburton for their continued support of Australian football and for extending the rights agreement for a further two years.
Seven West Media Managing Director and CEO, James Warburton said "We can't wait to bring the Footy back to the fans. 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.
"I'd like to thank AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and the AFL Commission for their commitment which ensures surety for both parties over the next five years."
Mr McLachlan also thanked Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delaney for their support of the game and said he looked forward to continuing to work with all partners.
Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delaney said: "It's been a long road back for footy and working through the impact of COVID-19 on the game has been tough for everyone involved - fans, players, clubs and the AFL and its broadcast partners. We have a great long-term partnership with the AFL and we are incredibly pleased to be in a position to have footy back on Foxtel from tonight, every game, every round, every game live and ad free during play.
"Broadcasters have a special role to play during these times in bringing the game to fans. Last night's Richmond-Collingwood blockbuster at the 'G would normally be played in front of up to 90,000 fans. For Fox Sports produced games later in the round, we are continuing our history of innovation to bring some of the special atmosphere of games to life for viewers. We are also continuing our investment in live pre and post-game coverage, and live shows such as AFL 360, On the Couch and Bounce that ensure Foxtel is the go to place for all footy action, all in one place."
The Telstra arrangement remains unchanged and Mr McLachlan thanked Telstra CEO Andy Penn for his ongoing support and commitment to the game and building a digital audience which is at record levels.
Mr McLachlan said the structure of the broadcast agreements remain consistent with current arrangements.
Mr McLachlan said he wanted to thank the AFL Commission for its support and particularly Chairman Richard Goyder and AFL Commissioners Paul Bassat, Robin Bishop and Kim Williams for their support along with our AFL staff who have worked through the details.
"While the agreement today provides some long-term certainty, we know the Covid-19 has also impacted other revenue for the AFL and for clubs and that we will need to be disciplined and focused as a football community on how we continue to live within our means over the coming years.
"We still have a long way to go before we are out of the woods financially as a football community so we will continue to work with staff, clubs and players and the rest of the football industry on our coordinated approach to the financial challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We know our game is important to so many, with more than one million club members, 1.7 million participants across the country and seven million supporters attending our games in 2019,' Mr Goyder said.
"We will continue to work harder to take our game to more people."