AFL in talks with global tech giants


With the broadcast rights deal involving Channel Seven, Foxtel and Telstra expiring at the end of 2022, industry insiders suggest the involvement of streaming in the next deal is not just a possibility but a reality.

Google, now owned by holding company Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook are all listed in the top 10 companies in the world measured by market capitalisation.

Amazon has just renewed its agreement to stream two more seasons of Thursday night NFL games at a price of $US65 million ($91 million) a year.

Amazon, which streams sport through Prime Video, has also just bought the rights to a Major League Baseball internet service that allows people to subscribe to MLB TV in the US through the Prime app and, on top of that, has shown an interest in the YES network, which is an American regional sports network of Disney.

Facebook, meantime, will stream 380 English Premier League soccer games a season in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam between 2019 and 2022.

In late 2015, the AFL signed what was then a colossal six-year, $2.5 billion broadcast rights agreement to cover the 2017 to 2022 seasons.

Amazon’s market capitalisation alone in the first week of April climbed to $US909 billion ($1.27 trillion). But Amazon, Google or Facebook are not automatic selections if they want to broadcast AFL games.

Channel Seven and Fox have a strong track record of producing Australian football.

But streaming services have continued their exponential growth and popularity around the world.

Last month, movie and television streaming platform Netflix claimed that more than 11.2 million Australians had a subscription in their household, up 25.2 per cent year on year.

According to Roy Morgan, leading Australian-owned subscription video-on-demand service Stan, a fully owned subsidiary of Nine (owner of The Age), is accessible by more than 2.6 million Australians, up 45.2 per cent year on year.

Amazon Prime Video has more than doubled its user base in Australia over the past year to just under 600,000 users.

McLachlan, Auld and Lee are expected back in the country on Friday.

Sam McClure won the Clinton Grybas rising star award at the AFL media association awards in 2015.

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