Home > AFL, Sport > If I had a billion dollars, yeahhh

If I had a billion dollars, yeahhh

Young Jeezy

Young Jeezy

“Yeah, I’d spend it all in a day,

Show these n****s how to play.

Top floor penthouse, show ‘em where I stay,

Grand piano, might learn to play, ha ha!”

No doubt Andrew Demetriou is channelling his inner Young Jeezy following the AFL’s announcement this afternoon of their $1.253 billion television right deals for 2012-2016. The deal is the most lucrative in Australian sporting history, and solidifies the AFL’s position at the peak of Australian professional sport.

One billion dollars has been the magical figure touted by the AFL since signing their previous deal in 2006. While one billion seems like an easy figure to pick out of the air, especially when they had already reached $780 million, but it was one that was perhaps never quite believable. To the credit of the AFL, they’ve not only reached that figure, but they’ve well and truly exceeded it.

The key development for this TV rights deal is the inclusion of every single home and away game being shown live around the country on Foxtel (or Austar where applicable). Over 1.63 million Australian households now subscribe to Foxtel, representing a significant segment of the population. We’ve all heard about the increasing costs of living, but it seems that paid television services are slowly but surely starting to become an ‘essential’ cost of living for many Australian households.

The deal also represents a significant move away from the AFL’s alleged Victorian geocentric tendencies. Not only is there the pledge of plenty of live football around the country, but non-Victorian teams are guaranteed to have all of their games broadcast live into their home states on free-to-air television. Sometimes termed “Mexicans” by those residing north of the border on the east coast, this point of the TV rights deal represents a bold declaration by the AFL that they are the premier national league.

Along with the live FTA broadcast of non-Victorian teams into their home states, 7mate will be telecasting four games a week live into NSW and QLD. The AFL has laid out in no uncertain terms here that they will succeed with two sides in each of Sydney and south-east Queensland. Much has been made of the AFL’s “war chest” of funds for the two newest expansion teams, but here they are actually being paid over a billion dollars to promote the code in NSW and QLD whilst providing support to the existing and new teams.

Technology hasn’t been left out here, either, with the inclusion of live internet protocol television (IPTV) broadcasts. These broadcasts, which will include the Telstra T-Box as well as iPads and smartphones on the Telstra NextG network, will no doubt evolve over the span of this 5-year agreement with the anticipated technological advances which seem to be upon us daily.

And just how much attention has the announcement of the AFL’s new TV rights deal garnered already around Australia? A look below at the TrendsMap of #aflrights on Twitter shows us that they’re a key focus of ‘the conversation’ in the hours following the press conference:

#aflrights

All in all, I see this TV rights deal as the first true payoff of nation-wide expansion for the AFL, some 24 years after they chose to become a national code.

One thing I have to wonder is whether the AFL might have agreed to hold two grand finals every year for the sake of the TV broadcasters to get their one billion dollars…

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