AFL chief focuses on next rights cycle

The AFL Australian rules football league will set an asking price of between A$1.5bn (€1bn/$1.3bn) and A$1.6bn for its next cycle of domestic rights, according to the Australian newspaper.

The existing five-year deal with commercial broadcaster Seven, pay-television broadcaster Foxtel and telecommunications company Telstra is worth a total of about A$1.25bn and will expire at the end of 2016.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan did not comment on the anticipated value of the next cycle, but added that the rights arrangement would be different from the existing set-up, with the league open to the possibility of two free-to-air broadcasters sharing coverage as well as selling games directly to fans.

“That's an option and that'll come into discussions,” McLachlan said about offering matches directly to viewers. “What I would say is we've had quite a successful partnership over the past few years with Channel Seven in the free-to-air space and Foxtel. If we could continue in this current form, I would love that, but we'll see where discussions go.

"The broadcast rights are going to look very different. The evolution we've had in the media space has been significant in the last period of time. What that looks like I'm not going to telegraph or talk to, but I'm sure the contract will look good.”