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 the telco’s services.
The landmark deal, believed to be the first of its kind involving a sports league, players’ association and commercial partner, covers the entire AFL playing group and forms part of the AFL and Telstra’s digital rights agreement, which runs until 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.
The new agreement with the AFL Players’ Association ensures every AFL player is available to create digital content that will be shared with footy fans.
Furthermore, 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.
Gillon McLachlan, chief executive of the AFL, said: “We’re always exploring new ways to innovate our game with Telstra. Footy fans want to connect with the game, their clubs and, most importantly, with the players. We want to bring fans and players closer together.”
Paul Marsh, chief executive of the AFL Players’ Association, said: “This partnership demonstrates the players’ commitment to working with the AFL and its partners to identify new ways to strengthen the industry and grow the game.
“Over the next five years, AFL players aim to enhance the fan experience by creating new, interesting and engaging content for everyone to enjoy.
“Every AFL player will benefit from the partnership, including through greater contributions into the player retirement scheme.”
Joe Pollard, group executive of media and marketing and CMO at Telstra, said: “We’ll work closely with the AFL, AFL Players’ Association and AFL players to create engaging social media content for fans and exclusive moments for Telstra customers to connect with their AFL heroes in the virtual, and real world.
“We already play a big role in bringing Australians closer to the game through the AFL Live official app. This new agreement takes our involvement and commitment to the AFL to a new level.
“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.”
Telstra has held a close relationship with the AFL since 2002.