AFL Lands $2.5 Billion Monster Deal As Rupert Declares Total War On The NRL (And Channel Nine)

AFL Lands $2.5 Billion Monster Deal As Rupert Declares Total War On The NRL (And Channel Nine)
SHARE
THIS



It was only 20 short years ago – 18, in fact – way back in 1997 when News Corp attempted to buy the rights to the NRL in what became known as the disastrous Super League era that came close to destroying the game.

Fast-forward to 2015 and it’s abundantly clear the Murdoch clan have swapped allegiances and are now fair-square in the AFL trenches. And the Australian football codes will never be the same again.

Yesterday’s announcement that News Corp and its pay TV subsidiary Foxtel had lashed-out $2.5 billion for the rights to the AFL until 2022 was not only the biggest sports rights deal in Australian history, it was a clear “f@ck you” to the NRL and Nine’s David Gyngell who’d jumped into bed together last Monday for a similar time and all for the (now paltry sum of) $925 million.

As reported by B&T; News, the Murdochs, Foxtel, Ten and everybody else left out of the Nine/NRL deal announced last week were beyond livid and got their revenge yesterday. And in spades.

News is reportedly so furious about the NRL deal it has already threatened to turn its league-loving tabloids in Sydney and Brisbane – The Daily Telegraph and The Courier Mail – into proxy AFL mouthpieces. Although, how you’ll convert league-infatuated audiences is an entirely different matter altogether and any move could seriously backfire on already struggling print circulations. It could also prove very good news for the unaligned Fairfax Media.

That said, on yesterday’s announcement – that included Rupert himself perched at the press announcement of the mega deal – News organs were already trumpeting that “Aussie Rules” would be “his company’s preferred choice among the nation’s codes”.

If that doesn’t spell war and a pending great big mega media stink between Nine and News, Foxtel and Seven then nothing does. (Kerry Stokes’s Seven West Media was also part of yesterday’s AFL threesome alongside News and Foxtel.)

985024-160fa63e-4588-11e5-973c-16f10a4fdabf

(Above: AFL chief Gillon McLachlan, Seven’s Kerry Stokes, AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and News Corp executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch yesterday’s AFL rights announcement. Image sourced from News Corp media.)

To show that the great man and News patriarch, Rupert Murdoch, was not only pissed being ignored in the NRL deal he fronted yesterday’s $2.5 billion announcement to declare that his media organisations had “always preferred Aussie Rules”. A strange summation indeed considering most of his print and websites in NSW and Queensland virtually ignore the game entirely. And, of course, 1997’s ill-fated Super League fiasco.

“We’ve always believed this is the premium code in Australia – it’s the national game,” Murdoch said, although no journalist in the room probed the 84-year-old on the words to Up There Cazaly.

“We’re also committing all our platforms to support the AFL in every state.

“We believe in the strength of the game and we’re doing everything we can to make it stronger,” he continued in what many may see as a veiled warning that he’s very determined to see league become a very second-tier sport in this country,” Murdoch said.

Yesterday’s monster deal – which the AFL has already admitted it may have trouble spending – will see Foxtel, Seven and Telstra each air games. Free-to-air network Seven will reportedly get at least three live games while the AFL has already said it will go head-to-head with Nine if it attempts to broadcast live NRL games in its AFL heartland.

It has also been reported that the AFL Grand Final will now be held on a public holiday in Melbourne.

Despite snaring close to a billion in the Nine deal, the NRL is yet to secure a pay TV deal with Foxtel. It is believed that league bosses want $800 million-plus over the four years (or even more now the AFL deal has been announced); however, the News-owned Foxtel may be reluctant to spring that for three reasons. One: it got ignored in the NRL deal. Two: Nine has stitched-up many of the live games and all the digital streaming rights. Three: the Foxtel coffers aren’t likely to be bulging following yesterday’s AFL announcement.

The NRL may not have got the best deal, but it appears its fans will be less likely to have to pay to watch games. After all, when someone springs $2.5 billion then someone has to pay for it! And if it’s not advertisers then it will be pay TV subscribers.

All nine AFL games will be broadcast live across the Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra streaming services each week, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan said.

 

Latest News

Pooled Energy Appoints Magnum & Co And The Wired Agency
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Pooled Energy Appoints Magnum & Co And The Wired Agency

Swimming pool electricity retailer Pooled Energy has appointed Magnum & Co and sister agency The Wired Agency to its roster, following a competitive pitch. Magnum & Co will handle Pooled Energy’s social media and PR, while The Wired Agency has been appointed to manage the company’s search and display advertising. Both agencies will collaborate with […]

Masculinity Roasted In Clever New Ad
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Masculinity Roasted In Clever New Ad

Think masculinity means drinking a case without chundering? Well, rediscover it (& possibly yourself) with this top ad.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
WPP AUNZ Partners With Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program
  • Advertising

WPP AUNZ Partners With Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program

Advertising and marketing network WPP AUNZ has joined the Career Trackers Indigenous Internship Program as part of its commitment to a diverse workforce, and the creation of opportunities that inspire excellence. As part of the program, WPP AUNZ has welcomed its first three interns: Abi-Leigh Dillon (WPP AUNZ), Amy Mccutcheon (MediaCom) and Jacinta Evans (Ogilvy), […]

Taboo Goes On A Hiring Spree
  • Advertising

Taboo Goes On A Hiring Spree

Taboo has gone a hiring spree. And when it comes to sprees, that's far better than a shooting one or a farting one.

M&C Saatchi Group’s 1440 Shuts Up Shop
  • Marketing

M&C Saatchi Group’s 1440 Shuts Up Shop

Sadly, M&C Saatchi's 1440 is no more. And chances of it being reborn as 1550 not looking much chop either.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Luke Kelly Becomes A Partner At HBT
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Luke Kelly Becomes A Partner At HBT

B&T's not sure what's with that twirly thing in the press photo, suffice to say a vortex to an alternate dimension?

Women In Media Profile: Alison Michalk
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Alison Michalk

If B&T's Women in Media profiles were an animal they would be a gazelle or lioness, or even a lioness eating a gazelle.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team
  • Media

Grant Broadcasters Makes Several Changes To Senior Executive Team

Independent media company Grant Broadcasters has announced a number of changes to its executive ranks. Grant Cameron will move up to become non-executive chairman for the company, and Alison Cameron (pictured above) – currently the chief operating officer – will assume the CEO role. Dugald Cameron remains responsible for the family’s investment portfolio and is […]

Shopper Media Group Partners With Mist To Offer New Tech & AI-Driven Capabilities
  • Advertising
  • Media

Shopper Media Group Partners With Mist To Offer New Tech & AI-Driven Capabilities

Australian retail out-of-home (OOH) business Shopper Media Group (SMG) has announced a partnership with AI-powered wireless networks provider Mist. The partnership will see SMG offer new WiFi, analytics and location-based services across the company’s portfolio of Australian shopping centres. Mist currently provides WiFi and location services using virtual Bluetooth LE technology to businesses across all […]

Indy Agency This Is Flow Wins Cruiseco’s $5 Million Media Account
  • Advertising
  • Media

Indy Agency This Is Flow Wins Cruiseco’s $5 Million Media Account

Travel organisation Cruiseco has announced the appointment of Sydney independent agency This is Flow (TIF) to handle its $5 million media account. This is the first time Cruiseco has appointed an agency, having managed its communications internally. Cruiseco is the largest and broadest distributor of cruise products in the Southern Hemisphere. With a membership base […]

Women In Media Profile: Naomi Shepherd
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Naomi Shepherd

Need a Monday morning pick-me-up? You could stand naked next to the office fridge or read these inspiring words.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
APN Outdoor Takes Off With Queenstown Airport Contract
  • Advertising
  • Media

APN Outdoor Takes Off With Queenstown Airport Contract

Out-of-home media business APN Outdoor has won the tender for New Zealand’s Queenstown Airport. As part of the new agreement, APN Outdoor has flagged extensive development plans for Queenstown Airport’s advertising assets. The new contract adds Queenstown Airport to APN Outdoor’s existing portfolio of Auckland and Christchurch Airports. The media company will hire a South […]