ESPN RENEWS RIGHTS TO BROADCAST AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE WITH THREE-YEAR DEAL
Multi-territory coverage of "Aussie Rules" football
Live game coverage, plus weekly highlights on television
Live matches from the Regular season, Finals Series and Grand Final on ESPN in the UK, Ireland, Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa, Canada and Israel
ESPN has announced a new deal with the Australian Football League (AFL) to bring viewers exclusive live television coverage of the AFL Premiership in the UK and Republic of Ireland, Canada, and sub-saharan Africa. Additionally, it has secured co-exclusive live television rights in the Caribbean and Israel.
The deal will run for the next three seasons, including the current season. ESPN will bring viewers in these territories extensive coverage of the league, which attracts the highest in-stadia attendances of all sports leagues in Australia and has the third highest average attendance of any sports league in the world.
At least one live match per week will be aired on ESPN channels throughout the season across all these territories. The 23-round regular season is played between March and August, followed by the Finals Series, where the top teams play off for the right to make the Grand Final. The live TV telecast of the Grand Final itself will also be exclusively on ESPN channels. In addition, fans will be able to keep up to date with all the action during each round with a dedicated weekly TV highlights show.
The 2012 AFL season follows on from a 2011 season that saw Geelong lift the Premiership Cup after a 38-point victory over Collingwood at the MCG in Melbourne. The league welcomes a new team this year, Greater Western Sydney.
Mike Walters, vice president, programming, ESPN International, said: "We're delighted to continue our collaboration with the AFL and bring the thrilling sport of Aussie Rules to millions. Broadcasting Australian Rules Football demonstrates the range and depth of content we strive to offer ESPN viewers and is a great addition to our live sport line-up in each of these territories."
Gillon McLachlan, AFL Chief Operating Officer, stated: "The AFL is delighted to announce a new three-year agreement with ESPN. The AFL and ESPN have built a wonderful partnership over the last three years and we are thrilled to have our code broadcast on such an esteemed network throughout many territories worldwide. I wish to thank ESPN for their ongoing commitment to AFL internationally."
Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN, Inc. is the world's leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring a portfolio of over 50 multimedia sports assets. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
ESPN International has grown to include ownership - in whole or in part - of over 47 television networks outside of the United States, as well as a variety of brand extension businesses, which allow ESPN to reach fans in 200 countries and territories.