Gillon-McLachlan
The AFL has announced a $2.508 billion broadcast deal with the Seven Network, Fox Sports and Telstra.

The deal, which ranks as the richest in Australian media history, will commence in 2017 until 2022.

The AFL will still have full control over the production of the fixture, including the scheduling of the grand final. Despite Seven and News Corporation speaking in support of a twilight grand final during the media conference, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said it was still a divisive issue to be debated by the AFL Commission.

The AFL will continue to be a 22-match season for each club, with the standard rounds consisting of nine games. Outside of Thursday night and public holiday scheduled games, the layout of the round will be the same as the 2015 season with the exception of a different Saturday afternoon time of 3:20pm.

The Seven Network has the rights as the free-to-air broadcaster and under the deal will have the rights to broadcast the AFL (Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon) and the Brownlow Medal, live in every state. In addition to these time slots, a further 11 games will be broadcast live across the season, such as Thursday night and public holiday games.

The Seven Network will also show free-to-air football in high definition.

The subscription TV rights have been acquired through News Corporation. Their deal includes broadcasting all nine games live each week during the premiership season.

Across an average of two normal rounds of 18 matches during the premiership season, Foxtel – in conjunction with the Fox Footy channel – will exclusively produce the broadcast for 11 matches, equating to 5.5 matches per round, while broadcasting the other matches live.

News Corporation also has the right to sub-license one game per round each weekend, which would be played at Saturday 3:20pm EST, to a free-to-air provider should it wish to do so. It is looking likely that Channel 10 will be the provider to receive the sub-licensed game.

With the exception of the grand final, News Corporation will also broadcast all the other finals matches live.

In Western Australia and South Australia, Foxtel and the Fox Footy channel will exclusively broadcast three live premiership season matches for each of the teams based in those states.

Telstra will continue to be the AFL’s digital partner. Their deal will provide all handheld mobile devices, afl.com.au and club digital networks with every game, every week live.

Under the new deal, the Fox Footy channel will also be available on all devices via Foxtel Play and Foxtel Go, including PCs, laptops and gaming consoles along with the standard tablets and phones.

McLachlan said the historic deal delivered for clubs, players, supporters and the community. He said the deal would provide financial security for clubs and players to “allow future growth and certainty” within the game.