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SBD Global/March 19, 2013/Finance
New Broadcast Deal Helps AFL Post Financial Turnaround Of $31M, Debt Free By '16
Published March 19, 2013
IN A 'HEALTHY STATE': In Melbourne, Jesse Hogan wrote, "The first year of the AFL's bumper broadcasting agreement insulated the league from a financial blow from lower attendances last season." The clear driver "was the proceeds of the AFL's broadcasting deal with Channel Seven, Foxtel and Telstra." That deal "accounted for just over half of the league's revenue," with sponsorship income rising 8.2% to A$159.7M. The "more traditional source of income, ticket and membership sales," fell 18.6% to A$8.63M -- just 2% of the AFL's overall income. AFL Chair Mike Fitzpatrick said that the AFL Commission was "generally pleased" with the AFL's financial performance in '12. Fitzpatrick: "We believe the game is in a healthy state." While the league spent A$11M on the creation of its in-house media division in '12 -- "just over double what it got back in revenue from that division -- it was not a great drain on its finances" because it managed to save about A$6M elsewhere (THE AGE, 3/19). Also in Melbourne, Jon Pierik wrote, "AFL players have labelled the disparity in spending between the power and smaller clubs as an 'emerging industrial issue,' revealing it will be dissected as part of a major review of player payments this year." AFLPA CEO Matt Finnis said players had "as much to lose as anybody" if the gap was not closed. Equalization is also set to be part of discussions next year at a mid-term review of the collective bargaining agreement," brokered last season but yet to be finalized (THE AGE, 3/19).