Broadcasters Seven and Foxtel have retained AFL TV rights in a massive $2.5bn deal.
The deal, worth $2.508bn in total, will run from the 2017 season for six years – believed to be the largest sport broadcasting deal in Australia’s history.
All nine games will be broadcast live across the Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra streaming services each week, AFL chief Gillon McLachlan said on Tuesday.
“It gives our game a chance to invest in the future,” he told reporters on Tuesday in Melbourne.
The AFL will retain total control over fixturing and the current 22-round season will remain until at least 2023.
Seven will also hold exclusive broadcasting rights for both the grand final and Brownlow Medal.
The deal guarantees nine games will be played each round with the exception of split rounds.
There will be one game on Friday night, two on Saturday afternoon, one twilight game on a Saturday, two on Saturday night as well as two games played on Sunday afternoon and twilight.
McLachlan said between five and six Thursday night games would also be included each season.
He said free-to-air partner Seven would broadcast at least one Friday night, one Saturday night and one Sunday afternoon match live across the country.
News Corp’s executive chairman Rupert Murdoch said it was a good investment for Foxtel, the media group’s half-owned pay TV broadcaster.
“We believe in the strength of the game and will do everything we can to make it stronger,” he told reporters.
He was asked if it would affect the NRL deal and he said: “no, it won’t affect the NRL deal”.
The NRL on Monday sealed a $925m, five-year deal with free-to-air broadcaster Nine for the rights to screen four live NRL matches a week, the top-rating State of Origin series and finals.
Foxtel is still to finalise how much it will pay to broadcast the remaining four NRL matches each weekend from 2018 - and possibly simulcast Nine’s matches.