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.

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Bauer’s Cosmo Named Official Mardi Gras Media Partner
  • Marketing
  • Media

Bauer’s Cosmo Named Official Mardi Gras Media Partner

Bauer Media has announced Cosmopolitan magazine as an official media partner of the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. COSMO’s Mardi Gras sponsorship will deliver a month-long celebration of activities in the Parade’s 40th anniversary year. In addition to the event sponsorship, COSMO is producing its second Pride Issue for March, on sale 5th […]

A Guide To Understanding Your Digital Marketer
  • Opinion

A Guide To Understanding Your Digital Marketer

In this guest column, Logie-nominated journalist, Leisa Goddard (main photo), who is also the managing director of media, PR and digital agency, Adoni Media, offers her personal guide to making your way through digital marketing buzzwords and gobbledygook… Do you feel as though your digital marketer speaks to you in a language you don’t understand? In today’s highly-competitive world […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD
  • Advertising

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD

Video advertising platform SpotX has announced it has appointed Gavin Buxton as managing director of Asia to lead the company’s expansion in the region. Buxton has over 17 years’ global experience in the digital advertising space, having worked in leadership roles at tech and publishing companies, including Microsoft, Turner Broadcasting, and LinkedIn, with the last […]

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands

B&T Awards 2017 finalist Big Mobile has unveiled a fresh look to reflect its new ad tech credentials. The company successfully pivoted its business from ad network to mobile ad tech vendor when it announced a joint venture (JV) with Widespace in October last year. As a result of the business changes, Big Mobile wanted […]

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager
  • Advertising

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager

Independent ad agency March One has appointed a fresh face to the team, with Melanie Tozer to reinforce its mission to put humans first as a senior account manager. Tozer (pictured above), an up-and-coming talent from New Zealand, will align her extensive experience in FMCG marketing with March One, having worked on accounts for Bunnings […]

What To Expect From The App Economy In 2018
  • Opinion
  • Technology

What To Expect From The App Economy In 2018

Here's an insightful, authoritative synopsis of the app economy. So, you're right, it wasn't written by a B&T journo.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Farm Foods Rebrands To Target Modern Aussie Families Via Tiny Hunter
  • Marketing

Farm Foods Rebrands To Target Modern Aussie Families Via Tiny Hunter

Seasoned meat supplier Farm Foods Butchers has rebranded its selection of sausages, burgers, meatballs and ready-to-cook meat products to appeal to the modern Aussie family. The 100 per cent family-owned and operated business based in Breakwater, Victoria worked with Sydney-based branding and packaging design company Tiny Hunter. Together, they created a brand which connects with […]

Animal Logic Shows Off New Website In Collaboration With Protein One
  • Marketing
  • Media

Animal Logic Shows Off New Website In Collaboration With Protein One

Aussie visual FX and feature animation studio Animal Logic has unveiled its new web experience – a reimagined website – in collaboration with Sydney digital agency Protein One. Animal Logic felt it was important to engage a local digital agency to represent its brand online. The company’s online personality was one that required a team […]

Raunchy Marathon Ad Causes Utter Confusion
  • Campaigns

Raunchy Marathon Ad Causes Utter Confusion

B&T likes to award the "dumbest ad of the day" with a 15-inch devon knob. And this would be a processed meats shoe-in.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Red Agency Wins Bio-Oil PR Account
  • Marketing

Red Agency Wins Bio-Oil PR Account

Red Agency staff set to challenge for the record for most people to squeeze into a lift after winning Bio-Oil business.