Telstra Tipped To Win AFL Fight
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After much tussle it looks like the Telco has won a chunk of online footie rights…for a bargain $100m price.


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Channel Seven and Foxtel are also major winners on the TV side, although it was a far costlier gamble, with a rumoured $1billion price tag being paid to the AFL for the all exclusive rights for the 2011-16 period.

Kerry Stokes’ Seven will pay around $475m of this sum although a lot of it could be in the form of free ads for the AFL.

This new AFL deal, which could be announced today, also represents a massive upsurge in the cost of broadcasting matches compared to previous agreements penned with the AFL and demonstrates the major importance networks place in it, giving a ‘halo effect’ for viewers.

The last deal held jointly by Seven and Ten was worth $780 million.

And showing all the games live could also help Foxtel hold on to its subscription numbers which have remained flat in recent months.

As for securing of exclusive AFL broadcast rights for 2012-2016 could also could be a big bonus for the Pay TV giants as IPTV and other online content services gain momentum.

“Internet TV and free-to-air networks own digital channels are fragmenting TV audiences,” one media exec told the Financial Review yesterday.

Telstra’s rights would secure web rights for games, although it is not clear whether it also managed to nab mobile rights.

If so, it could prove highly lucrative given the huge increase in popularity of such media in recent years.

The telco was also tipped to show live games on its T-Box, independent of Foxtel, in which it owns a 50 per cent stake, although it is thought this now won’t happen, leaving that ball in the hands of its Pay TV network.

Reports suggest it will buy probably one game a week, on delay.

And what of the other contenders? Ten Network fell off the bidding wagon earlier in the process due to the high costs involved.

However, the winning stations are likely to sub contract out to those who lost out which could include Nine or Ten.  

And considering Foxtel shareholding interests overlap in the form of Lachlan Murdoch (News Ltd) and James Packer (Consolidated Media Holdings) with Channel Ten, this could be very likely.

 

Under the previous deal, Telstra paid $60m for the rights to show match replays, highlights and club content on mobile phones and the internet.