The AFL Women’s Australian rules football competition has secured a rights fee for the first time in its history through a new four-year deal with commercial broadcaster Seven and pay-television operator Foxtel.
The deal covers the 2019 to 2022 seasons of the AFLW. Foxtel and Seven both covered the first two seasons of the competition, but did not pay a rights fee. AFL.com said the new contract is worth around AUD $2m (€1.27m/$1.45m).
All 38 matches of next year’s AFLW will be shown live on television, with Seven and Foxtel to share the coverage.
Seven will broadcast two Saturday games per round in every state and territory, plus all the non-Victorian clubs’ matches into their respective local markets, live on free-to-air television, with Fox Sports to air every AFLW game live.
Following expansion to 14 teams in 2020, Seven will broadcast three games live each round, with Fox Sports continuing to air every game live. Both broadcasters will cover all finals live across the country, while matches will also be streamed live on Seven and Foxtel digital platforms and via the AFLW App.
The new deal will end after the 2022 season, tying in with the last year of the six-season rights contract for the men’s AFL. The league’s head of women’s football, Nicole Livingstone, admitted the two contracts could be bundled together from 2023.
“Certainly nothing is off the table…the AFL will be renegotiating their broadcast deals, so it’s good timing for us,” she said. “Cricket has done that (combined its men’s and women’s contracts) successfully, so it’s something I would encourage us to look at.”