AFL and Amazon | Stephen Coniglio signs on as tech giant starts filming documentary series this month


If Sydney are locked in for this year, Amazon will get their wish and have six of the league’s 18 clubs committed to season one.

Amazon producers will be given unprecedented access to the players, which will take viewers inside training sessions, team meetings and even inside their homes.

Camera crews will be given access to club representatives two to three times per week, with filming starting at the end of March.

Significantly, clubs and players will be given “final cut” rights by Amazon, meaning any content that is not approved will be binned and never see the light of day.

Negotiations are being run by AFL executive Darren Birch – the league’s head of growth and content – and Eddie McGuire’s company McGuire Media.

Collingwood president McGuire has been one of the major figures behind the deal – worth a combined $11 million – but his head of content at Jam TV Luke Tunnecliffe remains the man in charge on the ground.

A large chunk of the negotiations have revolved around access to the players and trust with what’s filmed – two issues that go hand in hand.

While players are not being paid overs for their time – and in O’Neal’s case nothing as president – clubs have told The Age they’re keen to be involved given what it can do for their brand exposure.

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For expansion clubs GWS and Gold Coast, both of whom are based in traditionally non-football heartland, the documentaries are an opportunity to showcase the growing culture at their clubs.

Carlton and West Coast both feel the stories of Betts and Naitanui are particularly unique and will therefore provide a different insight into the game, while also promoting the clubs.

Amazon ideally want to do 18 documentaries over three seasons, meaning all clubs would need to be involved.

Although Collingwood have declined for 2020, that’s not to say the club won’t reconsider its stance in future years.

Formula One powerhouses Ferrari and Mercedes refused to be part of the first season of Drive to Survive – a Netflix documentary series taking viewers behind the scene of motorsport’s most revered and elite competition.

But the first season was so successful with fans and sponsors that both teams agreed to sign up to the second season.

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