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AFL pay day likely to yield an international dividend

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The AFL media rights bonanza will have all parts of Australian football putting their hands out for moneyInternational footy volunteers will argue that surely their time has come.  The answer is likely to be yes, to some extent but in a sustainable way.  Trawling through all the media reports we have spotted further reason for hope.

As has been widely reported the AFL has completed its TV rights deal for the next 5 years, scoring a remarkable AUD$1.25 billion (US$1.37 billion, €920 million). The deal requires 9 games a week and is seen as guaranteeing the short term future of the 18 AFL clubs, although some are pointing out not necessarily where those 18 clubs are located (both North Melbourne and Port Adelaide have been suggested as candidates to shift to Tasmania by some reporters, but that seems highly unlikely in the next 5 years).

Even before the clubs had a chance to ask for more money the AFL Players' Association has been running a campaign to secure a host of improvements ranging from player welfare, superannuation, removal of rookie listing of players (expanding full time lists) and a fixed percentage of the AFL TV rights (27% has been mentioned). Of course it would be interesting to see what happens if a future TV deal is for a reduced total; would the players be happy to take a pay cut? Once the the clubs and players are taken care of the cake is suddenly much smaller. The AFL will also probably want to add to their war chest for "winning" the battle for hearts and minds in Greater Western Sydney and the Gold Coast.

It has to be remembered that all these bids will be for the money in the deal above what is spent in the current 5 year AUD$780 million rights, i.e. there is "only" about $94 million per year above the last rights.

But even when the above allocations are made there is no doubt it should leave the AFL with a comfortable margin to expand some of their lower profile projects - and clearly that must include international football.

In the seven years that worldfootynews.com has been reporting on the game's global reach we've been in the fortunate position to be able to report on an almost continuously upward curve.  There have been lumps and bumps along the way but the AFL has been playing an increasingly positive role, but still within a fairly constrained budget.  Our understanding is that the Game Development department has been keen to argue for a bigger slice of the pie, or at least to have that slice grow bigger as the pie grows.  With the TV rights bonanza we expect to see the upward curve get steeper - if footy is to claim a solid hold internationally then all the conditions are now in place for that acceleration to occur and so it must be now.

Encouragingly AFL CEO Andew Demetriou has been referenced as mentioning that international football should benefit from the deal.  We're yet to see a direct quote, but the Herald Sun reported that:

Mr Demetriou said the league had ideas about helping struggling clubs and also hoped to use the money to strengthen international, multicultural and women's programs.

That's only the briefest of mentions, but long time followers of world Australian football would know well that Demetriou does not "accidentally" mention a topic, especially international footy, and combined with positive recent signs of serious support such as for the World 18 youth, South Pacific youth and AFL Europe, we hope to see some further good news in the next year  Over the next few months there will be a lot of bargaining from all football stakeholders, after which WFN will certainly be asking the AFL's international staff what new benefits will flow. Perhaps exciting times are with us.

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AFL pay day likely to yield an international dividend | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
AFL pay day likely to yield an international dividend
Authored by: Timothy J Scott on Saturday, April 30 2011 @ 04:08 pm ACST

I have heard reports that the Berlin Crocodiles of the AFLG have been given funding to build their own ground and club rooms at the site of the former Templehof Airport, can anyone confirm this?  Funding is apparently coming from the AFL development department, could this be the first sign of TV rights funding finding its way into international development?

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AFL pay day likely to yield an international dividend
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Saturday, April 30 2011 @ 05:30 pm ACST

 I'm asking my sources at the Crocs, if it's all going ahead there should be news of it on here ASAP.

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AFL pay day likely to yield an international dividend
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Sunday, May 01 2011 @ 08:00 pm ACST

Spoke to the guys from the Crocs - sorry to disappoint but it turns out it was an April Fool's joke that got left on the website a little too long...

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AFL pay day likely to yield an international dividend
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, May 02 2011 @ 08:01 am ACST

With the AFL cashed up with Aussie Dollars, (nearing $US 1.10), the AFL should see how much it can assist in getting some decent regional venues overseas (that could double as training bases/match venues for touring AIS teams and Flying Boomerangs squads).

For exampe, in Vanuatu they are working seriously towards getting full sized footy ovals in place.  Once full size oval footy is available for the older juniors through to seniors, then, the capacity to compete in IC tournaments and the like surely increases.

btw - I did think the AFLPA, or, loose cannon players?? came out WAY, WAY TOO SOON with their desire for more cash - - however, the flip side might be that after the money splashed on Hunt and Folau, that the top notch players perhaps felt it as a bit of 'pay back'.  However, in the public eye - I reckon they came out too soon putting that on the agenda.  It's hardly as if former AFLPA CEO Andrew Demetriou wouldn't be sympathetic and keen to negotiate a solid outcome with the AFLPA.

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AFL pay day likely to yield an international dividend
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, May 02 2011 @ 08:45 am ACST

What has been interesting has been the 'reaction' from other codes (and the journo's reporting on other codes).

the one and only Roy Masters, NRL journo married to former AFL tribunal member Elaine Canty - Masters often has more than a bit to say about the AFL.  For some time, he's suggested the AFL would be lucky to get $800 million and that the NRL should surely equal the AFL deal.

In the Australian context, he claims the NRL out rates the AFL.   This is one of those claims based on bending the numbers to suit.  In a recent season, the total RL product (not all 'NRL' 'owned', some 'ARL') of 192 H&A matches + finals, 3 SoO, test(s) and City v Country and All stars game managed to squeeze ahead of the AFL (176 H&A and + finals).  However, when aggregating the 'average' audience figure, there's of course a clear issue to consider.

An AFL game generally provides (4 * 30 min qtrs) 120 mins worth (and will, siren to siren per quarter on Foxtel next year, compared to an NRL match being 80 mins.  That's 50% more. 

On the H&A example.  The AFL 176 matches equates to 352 hours.  The NRL 192 matches equates to 256 hours.  That's one consideration.

Ratings need to be considered too.  In Australia, often the most 'immediate' ratings at the 5 city metro (OzTam), then, the addition of 4 (RegTam) regionals.  The metros, a lot of people fail to realise that Geelong is included in Melbourne.  That the Gold Coast down to the NSW border (Tweed river) is included in Brisbane, and Gosford slips into Sydney).

The regionals are Nrth NSW (includes a portion of double counting with Gold Coast to the North and Gosford to the south), Sth NSW (misses out on the North bank of the Murray, so, Victoria gets Albury, Corowa, Finley, Jerilderie etc), QLD (includes a Sunshine coast carve up and double counting with Brisbane of Maroochydore, Mooloolaba and others), and Victoria (double counting is limited to minor localities like Inverloch, Neerim and Longwarry!!!  (not really significant!!). 

The regionals do NOT count Tasmania, not NT, do NOT count regional WA, SA, and parts of Vic (Mildura), parts of NSW (Griffith, Broken Hill) and outback QLD (Roma).

End result, is a ratings 'universe' of over 23 million, about 1.5 million ahead of the ABS 'population clock'!!!  Ratings NEED to be 'corrected', so, often, take the overnight result with a grain of salt.  In fact, in recent years, we've seen the NRL claim Grand Final victory based on the over night figures, only, for the corrected figures to proove otherwise when published a few weeks later.

The ratings these days also allow for a 'time shift', which is watching in full a program on PVR (personal video recorders) any time up to 7 days after broadcast.

Suffice to say, too many simpletons try to make simplistic arguments.

The Foxtel scenario is important as Foxtel underwrote the main increase the AFL got this time around.  Foxtel are after NEW subscribers for 'growth', and they have their highest market penetration in Sydney - and are seeking growth in AFL states.  Foxtel are 'only' concerned about ratings with respect to customer retention.  However, with new media platforms in the offing, they need to shore up a broader customer base.

Just what the NRL can eek out will be interesting.  Then most likely need to split up their product offerings so that SoO for example can seriously be put to the market.  

So far though, the credibility of a Roy Masters in questioned, he's missed the mark by a lazy $450 million!!!  Astonishingly for some, Caroline Wilson has improved her credibility.  So, when people talk about their 'sources', be sure to add a grain or two of salt.

And what's left for the FFA and the HAL??  (especially if the Socceroos are not packaged with the HAL).

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