Media manager in multi-billion dollar pitch for AFL rights

The AFL is on the verge of striking a new multi-billion dollar deal to broadcast games across Australia but will pit its potential broadcast partners against each other for the final time on Monday to maximize the money for the code.

Media companies Nine Entertainment Co, Paramount, Seven West Media and Foxtel are set to present top AFL executives with what industry sources are describing as a silent auction aimed at keeping the pressure on current broadcast partners and generating more money than the 946 million dollars that will be paid to the sport over the next two years.

The AFL is on the verge of a new multi-billion dollar deal.

The AFL is on the verge of a new multi-billion dollar deal.Recognition:Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The media sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are confidential, said the AFL set up the back-to-back meetings for this Monday despite the terms of a new agreement with Seven and Foxtel being all but signed. They’re asking each broadcaster for their best and final bids, and a deal could be signed before the end of the week.

Some executives believe the move is a way to maximize incumbents’ money, while others have hinted talks are still ongoing because a deal with Nine, the owner of this imprint, and its streaming service Stan could yet land .

Nine, Paramount, Seven, Foxtel and the AFL declined to comment.

Regardless of the outcome, the AFL could get up to $50 million more a year than its existing deal, which would bring a five-year deal to $2.6 billion. The AFL’s last long-term deal was $2.5 billion and ran for six years. The current deal runs from 2022 to 2024 and will cost the broadcasters $946 million in cash and contra (free advertising).

AFL chairman Richard Goyder and CEO Gillon McLachlan were spotted alongside billionaire chairman of Seven West Media Kerry Stokes at Saturday night’s game between the Fremantle Dockers and the Western Bulldogs, leading some industry executives to believe the deal was as good as is completed. Other media and AFL sources said the sport’s governing body would not host Monday’s meetings if it did.

Seven and Foxtel have been at odds for months over key elements of a future agreement, including the number of live games that will be free-to-air. The AFL was considering delaying two free-to-air games a week by up to two hours in interstate markets to give Foxtel more exclusivity for its Kayo Sports streaming service.

Media sources said those concerns have now been allayed. A new deal will result in AFL games in NSW and Queensland being shown live exclusively on Foxtel and with a delay of up to two hours on Channel Seven under agreed terms. According to the sources, there will be no changes to the number of games delayed in South Australia and Western Australia and Victoria will not be affected. Media manager in multi-billion dollar pitch for AFL rights

Brian Lowry

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