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Broadcasters and AFL yet to confirm rights deal on shortened season

The Australian Football League does not yet have a broadcast deal in place for its reduced season which is due to resume on June 11.

Citing a long-term partnership with its broadcast partners AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan told ABC News he didn’t know when a deal would be done, but was not worried about the imminent deadline.

The NRL agreed a broadcast rights deal, including extended deals with Channel Nine and Foxtel, the day before the season resumed on May 28, however Foxtel and Channel Seven have yet to agree how much they will pay the AFL for their reduced, 17-round season.

McLachlan said he didn’t know when a deal would be done, but was not worried about the looming deadline. The AFL’s existing A$2.5bn ($1.75bn/€1.55bn), six-year deal runs out at the end of season 2022.

The season restart will see Richmond take on Collingwood at the MCG on Thursday night with no fans in the ground, giving the AFL only three days to conclude a deal with the broadcasters.

The AFL’s six tenant clubs based at the MCG have meanwhile received a financial boost due to a Covid-19 emergency agreement between the AFL and the MCG.

Collingwood, Melbourne, Richmond, Hawthorn, Carlton and Essendon will each receive home game payments between A$150,000 and A$200,000 per match for the remainder of the shortened season, The Age reports.

Under a new arrangement the AFL will pay the MCG a reduced ground management fee and the stadium in turn will forward the majority of that fee, about A$6 million, to the home clubs.

The AFL-MCG deal guarantees 10 of the 12 best home and away games along with every preliminary final hosted by a Victorian team and the grand final will be played at the 100,000 seat venue. The AFL season was postponed on March 22 after just one round had been completed.