The AFL stands to lose more than $100 million in TV rights cash in revised deal.
The AFL stands to lose more than $100 million in TV rights cash in revised deal.

TV deal: The monster sum AFL stands to lose

The AFL stands to lose at least $104 million in TV rights cash this year.

Negotiations between the league and its broadcast partners over a reduced arrangement for the 2020 season are continuing.

But industry figures say five fewer rounds and shortened games will slice a minimum of 25 per cent off this year's contracts.

The league pockets an average of $417 million a year in TV rights as part of its bumper six-year, $2.5 billion deal with Channel 7, Foxtel and Telstra that expires at the end of 2022.

A more savage 50 per cent reduction in broadcast fees this year would equate to lost revenues of $208.5 million.

The revised deal for 2020 is expected to fall within the 50-75 per cent range of the original agreement.

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The league pockets an average of $417 million a year in TV rights. Picture: Getty
The league pockets an average of $417 million a year in TV rights. Picture: Getty

The AFL could choose to spread the losses over several years.

The size of the TV shortfall will be crucial in determining cash distributions to the 18 clubs and the extent of staff culls across the football industry, including at head office.

The AFL is intent on slashing list sizes and football department expenditure in a bid to save costs.

Talks over a proposed two-year extension with Seven and Foxtel have slowed as the league focuses on restarting the stalled season.

A new NRL TV rights deal, set to be agreed between Channel 9 and Foxtel this week, involves a downsizing of the NRL's digital platform.

AFL Media, the league's in-house digital business, could also be significantly diminished and refocused on supporting club websites as a result of the negotiations.

Global tech giants Google, Facebook and Amazon are unlikely to make a play for the AFL's broadcast rights.

Broadcast money accounts for about 65 per cent of the competition's total annual revenue.

The other financial unknowns for the AFL and its clubs are how many club members will seek a refund on their 2020 payments and the ability of commercial sponsors across the competition to honour their agreements.

The AFL is pushing to redraw its collective bargaining agreement with the game's 850 players, a move the players' union says will require full financial transparency from AFL House.

Originally published as TV deal: The monster sum AFL stands to lose


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