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So now they have managed to sell the matches to Foxtel. With the Footy channel now closed it means that the matches will be shown alongside the other sports that get shown on Foxsports which in a way is better than the previous arrangement where there was a channel showing nothing else but AFL football which I pointed out in an earlier post.
Its interesting to see that the free-to-air channels bid for the right show the all AFL matches but they know they cannot show all of them for logistical reasons and have to sell on to pay television which is not allowed to bid on its own right because of the anti-siphoning laws. What would happen for example, if the pay television channel doesn't buy the rights to the other matches? Maybe if pay television could bid on their own merit that could result in more money for AFL clubs but that would need a change to the current anti-siphoning laws which dictate that those rights go to free-to-air television.
The end result of the latest deal now means that less matches will be available on free to air television compared to last season. Also because Foxtel will have the first rights to matches involving teams from Adelaide and Perth, its more likely that most of the matches involving Freemantle, Adelaide, Port Adelaide and West Coast Eagles will be on pay television.
I don't know what the AFL fans in Perth and Adelaide now think of those same anti-siphoning laws when most matches involving their teams are not going to be available on free-to-air.
It will be interesting to see if this will still be the case when these rights are up for grabs again in five years time. Maybe by then clubs would have realised that they could make more money by allowing everybody to bid in the first place.
But imagine this: if your a North Kangaroos supporter, you will see your team play live once in the first ten rounds. And what was Andrew Demetriou's response to that: 'you'd better go out and subscribe to Foxtel'.
This deal is no good for football, and, if I may, sounds the beginning of the end for the AFL as we know it.
The dollar has now become the overriding consideration now, not the supporters. We all knew that was the case before, but Demetriou's attitude has just confirmed it.
When John you say this deal is not good for football - I agree - its only good for Collingwood.
Don't forget Channel 7 also owns the rights to the V8 SuperCars. The races are generally run Saturday and Sunday with the last Sunday race starting at about 2pm.
The big winner out of the TV rights has been the AFL and Foxtel. Foxtel will get another surge of subscriptions and the AFL...well they have already banked the big dollars...
The losers,on the surface it seems as always the general football fans (unless they can afford Foxtel). However what it might do is get more people to the actual game. If they can't watch it on TV they might get up off the couch and actually go to a game...although that will be a bit hard if you are an interstate team supporter.
But yes you are right the A-League grand final needs to be added to the anti-siphoning list and shown also on free-to-air and the fact that the tickets were sold out in less than 2 hours means that its a popular event and the government should take note.