Itsa couple of years old but this is a press release from the AFL about TV rights
AFL not well received in Australia’s eastern states
A major side effect of the new consortium winning the TV rights to AFL matches have appeared on the first day of the 2002 season, with fans in regional New South Wales, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) missing out on primetime coverage of matches in preference to rugby league.
Fans living in these regions were outraged that just two of the eight matches being played over the Easter weekend in round one would be televised live, with no promise that coverage would improve in later weeks. The AFL and regional broadcasters have been flooded with complaints from fans demanding a resolution to the issue.
Local fans have been complaining for months that the coverage of Friday night games is worse this season because Nine will screen the rugby league and not begin a replay of that night’s AFL match until just after 11pm.
But if that wasn’t enough, AFL fans in Canberra and Gold Coast are now also irate after learning that Nine’s affiliate WIN TV has decided to follow Sydney and Brisbane’s scheduling and screen the rugby league as well. Up until last year, they had been able to watch Friday night matches on Seven’s affiliate, Prime, at 8.30pm. WIN apparently offered the Friday night service to its rivals, Prime and Ten, but both refused.
Fans subscribing to Foxtel pay-TV have also been snubbed because a clause in the new AFL rights package prevents the pay TV channe
l screening Friday night games live, with the replay to start at 11.30pm.
The AFL and Channel Nine are now trying to broker a deal with local television stations in the areas. AFL spokesman Patrick Keane admitted there was a problem with Friday nights’ coverage but said the league was hoping a solution could be soon found that would allow Foxtel to screen games live in some areas.
Concerned AFL officials have called a meeting with TV executives this week to try to strike a better deal.
AFL commercial operations manager Ben Buckley said in a statement that the AFL was disappointed the issue had been left unresolved, but he said Nine was continuing to work with the AFL to explore options with the regional broadcasters.
Buckley said that regional football fans had made their views clear to the AFL, wanting coverage in prime time - starting at 8.30pm in line with Victoria - rather than replays at 11.30pm.
Under the rights agreement, Nine is obligated to offer the matches to other broadcasters in regional markets such as Gold Coast, southern NSW and Canberra. Nine said the offer was declined by all parties.
A Channel Nine spokesman responded to the AFL statement by pointing out that the AFL was “fully aware of potential broadcast conflicts” arising from Nine’s commitment to rugby league.
An AFL spokesman said changes to the new rights agreement preventing Foxtel from screening the Friday night match before 11.30pm would require agreement from the AFL and Nine and talks were ongoing. Foxtel’s director of television Brian Walsh said it had already indicated to Nine it is prepared to full in the gap of live coverage to the affected areas.
This means that the AFL couldn't give their TV rights away in regional NSW.