The largest-ever sporting TV rights deal in Australian history happened almost exactly a year ago when Seven and Ten snared AFL football for $780 million over five years, but the detail of AFL broadcasts in 2007 and beyond was still being nutted out in the shadows of Christmas this week. With the threat of Seven’s long-running court case hampering the motivation of Foxtel executives to negotiate to show live matches, even if the pay TV network appeared suicidal in turning its back on its AFL-inspired subscribers, a game of brinkmanship developed that at times has appeared likely to see all eight AFL games each week shown nationally on free-to-air to the ratings and financial horror of Seven and Ten. Even more astonishing was the suggestion that live AFL might replace the televised fish on Channel 31, a community TV station (a story that appeared as a joke in The Bladder five years ago).

Crikey readers say:

“Channel 10 shafting their erstwhile AFL partner, Channel 9. Ballsy!” — Glen Klatovsky

Peter Fray

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