Telstra builds on AFL partnership with ‘landmark’ Players’ Association deal

Australian telco Telstra has further expanded its partnership with the Australian Football League, the top division of Aussie rules football, by agreeing what it claims is a “landmark deal” with the players’ union.

The AFL Players’ Association, in partnership with the AFL, has teamed up with Telstra on a new player agreement to cross-promote the national competition and Telstra’s services in a venture that aims to enhance fans’ access to AFL content.

The AFLPA and Telstra said the deal is believed to be the first of its kind involving a sports league, players’ association and commercial partner. It covers the entire AFL playing group and forms a new part of the AFL and Telstra’s digital rights agreement, which was signed in August 2015 and runs from 2017 to 2022.

Telstra and the AFL will work with the players to generate digital content and facilitate player appearances to give fans more insight and access to their favourite players. This will include hosting AFL player content onto the combined, official AFL and Telstra digital network.

In addition, 50 star players from all AFL clubs across Australia will be selected based on their profile and influence, to become Telstra ambassadors. The 50 players will appear throughout the year at new, local Telstra store openings and participate in community events, such as coaching clinics, and exclusive meet and greet opportunities with fans.

Financial terms of the new agreement were not disclosed, but AFLPA chief executive, Paul Marsh, said: “Every AFL player will benefit from the partnership, including through greater contributions into the player retirement scheme.”

Joe Pollard, Telstra’s group executive of media and chief marketing officer, added: “We want to open a new door to give our customers the chance to get to know the personalities involved in our great game so they can build deeper connections with their favourite players, and understand and experience the hard work, dedication and fun these incredible athletes have in their lives on and off the field.”