AFL Rights: About bloody time.

So they’ve finally told us what we already knew… Seven, Ten and Foxtel / Austar will share the AFL rights for the next five years.

Why did this take so long to sort? When Foxtel shut down its Fox Footy Channel last year was it bluffing? It would seem to be the case. They ended up forking out a bit more money, and some contra, to satisfy Seven and Ten.

The AFL have called it their best programming deal in history. Of course it is, they got the biggest cheque they’ve had. But trying to justify viewers having to sign to Foxtel to see some of the games, particularly in WA and SA, is hardly going to make anybody else smile -aside from Foxtel.

Seven and TEN paid a fortune for these games and they’re only airing two matches a week each. Foxtel paid far less and have just as many games. Still, both commercial networks would have been lumbered with airing games into Qld and NSW in prime time only to be trounced by Nine’s NRL games. They needed to offload. Yesterday everybody spun the line of win / win / win / win / win.

The scheduling is so confusing even Andrew Demetriou got it wrong at the Press Conference (he accidentally called the Sunday match a Saturday game). This was the same Press Conference which had delayed its start time by two hours that they had to feed an aggrieved media refreshments.

The announcement yesterday belies an announcement made by Seven only a few weeks ago.

I saw Sports Presenter Tim Watson announce “breaking news” that all 8 AFL games would be seen on FTA. At the time both he and newsreader Jennifer Keyte were all smiles, claiming it a win for the viewer.

Was this another bluff move in negotiations, this time by Seven and TEN?

I’d be very interested to know if Tim Watson thinks the new deal is still a win for viewers. That’s the line the AFL want us to swallow.

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