AFL takes TV hit as Foxtel, Seven finalise deal
The AFL has agreed to a heavily discounted TV rights deal with broadcast partners Channel Seven and Foxtel.
Payment reductions of up to $180 million for this season as well as 2021 and 2022 have been agreed because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Seven has renewed its arrangement with the league for an extra two years until the end of 2024.
But reports Foxtel has also signed a two-year extension for 2023 and 2024 are incorrect.
All parties were determined to resolve a revised broadcast arrangement for the current six-year contract that expires at the end of 2022 before the Collingwood-Richmond season reboot, but negotiations with Foxtel were not resolved until after 2am this morning.
The discounts were sought because the season has been cut by five rounds and quarters slashed from 20 minutes to 16 minutes plus time on.
Both networks have suffered financial losses during the 81-day shutdown leading them to seek reduced contracts for the next two years.
The AFL has pocketed about $417 million a season in TV rights cash and contra since 2016 - accounting for more than 60 per cent of the AFL industry's total revenues.
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Seven West Media boss James Warburton said on Thursday night: "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 team, but to have extended our relationship for a further two seasons taking the agreement through until the end of 2024."
Seven told the ASX it would make savings of $87 million over the next three years as a result of the revised arrangement, including "production savings".
The $50 million a year Telstra arrangement remains unchanged.
"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," AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said.
"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."
"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."
Originally published as AFL takes TV hit as Foxtel, Seven finalise deal