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Foxtel Attempting To Strike Early Broadcast Extension With AFL

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oxtel is reportedly attempting to strike an early extension deal with the AFL, after the Murdoch-controlled pay-TV company missed out on the broadcast rights to Rugby Australia.

Foxtel is trying to shore up existing content deals, a move which will prevent Nine and Stan Sport from buying more competitions, such as the AFL.

In 2015, Foxtel signed a $2.5 billion broadcast deal with Seven West Media, Telstra and the AFL, however Coronavirus-related social distancing restrictions caused matches to be suspended earlier this year, which reduced the value of the sports’ rights.

Foxtel and other broadcasters signed a revised broadcast deal with the AFL in June, but the pay TV company decided not to extend its arrangement beyond 2022.

Free-to-air broadcaster, Seven extended its contract by an extra two years.

According to the The Age, Foxtel chief executive officer, Patrick Delany, has contacted the AFL and wants to extend its current deal.

The sources said preliminary discussions about how much the AFL rights are worth have already commenced internally at the company.

This move by Foxtel reduces the risk of losing content to rivals such as Optus Sport, Amazon Prime or Stan Sport.

Delany said at a conference earlier this year that Foxtel would focus on securing more rights to large sports such as the AFL and NRL, which are appealing to advertiser and subscribers.

“We are now quite fearless of losing a sport,” Delany said.

“If a sport is asking too much money and we can’t make it work, and someone else can, well good luck to them.

“I want more of the NRL.

“Our relationship with the AFL is really fabulous.

“I want more AFL.

“The motorsports are going well for us, and we like cricket.

“But they are really the tier one sports and the rest are going to have to adjust,” he said.

Foxtel have faced extensive financial difficulties this year, with the suspension of sport and closure of pubs, due to the pandemic, affecting its subscriber base.

Earlier this year, Foxtel was forced to stand down 200 staff and axed more than 300 jobs earlier this year.

The company reported a revenue fall of US$18 million (AUD$24.6 million) to $US496 million (AUD$679.35 million) for Foxtel in the first quarter despite an increase in the number of subscribers.