AFL on verge of signing new TV deal

The AFL’s expected confirmation of a bumper TV rights deal will be much-needed good news for the league after a rough few days.

Current broadcasters Seven and Foxtel are likely to retain the rights in an agreement likely to be worth around $2 billion.

The new deal, to start in 2017, could run for six years.

An announcement will happen this week and as early as Tuesday.

The AFL hierarchy has received plenty of criticism for its handling of the Adam Goodes racism controversy.

Relations between Sydney and the league are becoming increasingly strained, with former Swans chairman Richard Colless accusing AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick of abusing him after Lance Franklin joined the club two years ago in a landmark free agency deal.

While the new TV rights deal looms as a major win for the AFL, it will mean new challenges.

The AFL players association is angling for a bigger share of TV rights revenue.

In March, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan ruled out the AFLPA having a seat at the rights negotiations.

Under the AFL’s new rights deal, the grand final will probably remain a day game despite a long-running push from broadcasters for it to be played at night.

The league struck the current five-year, $1.25 billion agreement less than a year before it started in 2012.

The new agreement comes a week after the NRL confirmed a new four-year agreement with the Nine Network.

The rugby league deal has accelerated negotiations for the AFL rights.

Nine’s $925 million deal with the NRL will involve four free-to-air games per week.

The NRL hopes its total broadcast rights deal will be worth around $1.7 billion once a pay TV deal is reached.

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