Australian Football League and ESPN Reach Rights Agreement
Multi-year, Multiplatform Deal Adds Rights in U.S. Canada Rights
ESPN and the Australian Football League (AFL) have reached a multiyear rights deal for live multi-platform coverage in the United States and Canada. The agreement brings fans in the U.S. and Canada access to up to three live matches in each round of the home and away season for the remainder of this season and through the end of 2011. It also includes a number of Finals Series matches, including the Toyota AFL Grand Final from the Melbourne Cricket Ground in September.
In the U.S., matches will be streamed live on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature live sports broadband network, as well as select AFL matches – including the Grand Final – being televised on ESPN2. In Canada, TSN or TSN2 will televise at least one live or delayed match per week.
The AFL’s agreement with ESPN in the U.S. and Canada follows last week’s confirmation that the league had secured ESPN as its broadcast rights partner in the UK and Ireland. ESPN also delivers the AFL to Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean region.
AFL Chief Operating Officer Gillon McLachlan said, “We are extremely pleased that ESPN will be working with us in the United States and Canada. They are a global leader in multimedia sports entertainment and the collaboration will ensure our expanding supporter base in the U.S. and Canada enjoy the highest standards in live AFL broadcast coverage going forward.
McLachlan also said the shift towards digital media coverage reflected the growing demand from sports consumers around the globe for live online content: “ESPN360.com has quickly become an online destination of choice for American sports fans and we are delighted that AFL will have a strong presence on the platform.”
Added Tim Bunnell, senior vice president of programming, ESPN International, “AFL presents a great opportunity for us as a company and is in line with our commitment to covering the world sports scene through our media platforms. The AFL and ESPN have a long relationship, stretching back to the early years of our company. We look forward to bringing the excitement and passion of Australian football back to fans in North America.”
Coverage will begin Friday, August 7 live in the U.S. and on delay Saturday, August 8 in Canada, with the Round 19 clash between finals aspirants Carlton and Geelong from the MCG.
ESPN – AFL U.S. and Canada Rights Deal Coverage Summary
· Live streaming coverage of three matches per round and finals matches on ESPN360.com.
· At least four matches per regular season in 2010 and 2011 and both Grand Finals live.
· Live coverage of the 2009 Grand Final on ESPN2.
· At least one match per week live or delayed on TSN or TSN2.
ESPN360.com is ESPN’s live sports broadband network, giving fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,200 live, global sports events annually. It is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. ESPN360.com is currently available in nearly 41 million homes via approximately 45 Internet service providers nationwide, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and many more. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.
Official broadcaster of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and London 2012 Games of the Olympiad, TSN, a division of CTVglobemedia, is Canada’s Sports Leader and Canada’s most-watched specialty network. TSN’s comprehensive broadcast schedule features an exciting lineup of sports including NHL, IIHF, CFL, NFL, NBA, Blue Jays Baseball, Season of Champions Curling, Golf’s Majors, F1, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Grand Slam Tennis, Championship Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts events. TSN properties include TSN2, TSN MOBILE and the industry leading sports website TSN.ca. TSN delivers more sports coverage in High Definition than any other network in Canada.