AFL boss Gillon McLachlan declared there’ll be no problems in securing a revised TV rights deal, but on the eve of the season reboot a deal is yet to be struck.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan declared there’ll be no problems in securing a revised TV rights deal, but on the eve of the season reboot a deal is yet to be struck.

AFL TV rights talks going down to the wire

Talks over a revamped AFL TV rights deal are going down to the wire.

Despite league boss Gillon McLachlan declaring last week that "there'll be no problems" in securing a revised broadcast agreement, a deal is yet to be struck.

But a network insider last night said all parties remained "hopeful" a resolution would be reached before Thursday night's Collingwood-Richmond season reboot at the MCG.

Broadcast partners Channel Seven and Foxtel are pushing for a reduction of about $150 million on their 2020 payments because of a season heavily compromised by the COVID-19 crisis.

Discounts of about $40 million for 2021 and 2022 are also being sought, while a proposed two-year extension for seasons 2023 and 2024 now appears unlikely.

The rival NRL relaunched its season on May 28, locking away an extended new TV rights deal the same day.

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Will the AFL be able to finalise a TV deal? Picture: AAP Image/Scott Barbour
Will the AFL be able to finalise a TV deal? Picture: AAP Image/Scott Barbour

The reworked AFL TV agreement will be crucial in determining the financial health of the game, cash distributions to all 18 clubs and job losses across the competition.

The AFL Players' Association will not enter into talks over proposed player pay cuts for next year until a new contract is signed.

Before the coronavirus crisis hit, the league pocketed an average of $417 million-a-year in TV rights as part of a six-year, $2.5 billion deal that expires at the end of 2022.

This year's payment is expected to fall below $300 million.

TV cash accounts for about 62 per cent of the AFL industry's total revenues.

It emerged on Wednesday the AFLPA has asked the league to detail how much it intends to draw down on a $600 million line of credit secured from banks after the season was shutdown in March.

Originally published as AFL TV rights talks going down to the wire


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