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AFL seeking collective approach to dividing revenue from new rights deal

The Australian Football League, the top division of Aussie rules football, intends to divide revenue from its new broadcast rights deal in more of a “group co-ordinated manner” rather than dealing with clubs and players separately, according to The Age.

The Australian newspaper said AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan outlined his plan at a meeting with club presidents yesterday (Monday). The AFL last month awarded its next cycle of domestic rights to commercial broadcaster Seven, pay-television operator Foxtel and telco Telstra.

The rights will cover six years, from 2017 to 2022, and will be worth a total of A$2.508bn (€1.66bn/$1.84bn), or A$418m per year. This is a 67-per-cent increase on the current five-year cycle, from 2012 to 2016, worth A$250m per year.

The Age said the lucrative new contract has led players to renew their bid for a set percentage of revenue as part of a new collective bargaining agreement, with negotiations to begin soon.

The newspaper also added that clubs are seeking a fair cut to bolster their financial position. The Fairfax Media news agency said only six teams made profits last year without substantial help from the league’s governing body. More than six are expected to suffer a financial loss this season, with overall club debts now standing at more than A$90m.