AFL 2022: Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+ express interest in broadcasting games

Streaming giants Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+ express interest in broadcasting AFL games – so could this be the end of footy on Seven?

Channel Seven may be facing a serious challenge from streaming giants Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+ over broadcast rights to the AFL after 2024.

According to recent reports, the AFL is seeking a broadcaster with deeper pockets than Seven, its long-term free-to-air television partner, after years of falling ratings.

Seven is under further pressure in future negotiations because players in both the AFL and AFLW are demanding more money. Higher broadcast revenues would pay for these salary boosts, reports The Age.

Endgame: Channel Seven may be facing a serious challenge from streaming giants Amazon and Paramount+ over broadcast rights to the AFL.  (Pictured: Seven's AFL broadcast team)

Endgame: Channel Seven may be facing a serious challenge from streaming giants Amazon and Paramount+ over broadcast rights to the AFL. (Pictured: Seven’s AFL broadcast team)

Both Amazon and Paramount+ responded to a letter seeking interest on broadcast rights sent out by the AFL.

It comes after reports that high-ranking AFL figures recently embarked on a trip to the US where they met with executives at Amazon, Google and Facebook.

Best estimates indicate that Amazon is worth AU$1.55trillion. Paramount has an estimated value of AU$72billion.

Paramount Global (then known as ViacomCBS) bought out Channel 10 in 2017, and the AFL may find an attractive new home at the network in a deal that could combine a free-to-air broadcaster with a streaming service.

The news comes after AFLW players demanded a 107 per cent pay increase.

AFL players receive 28 per cent of the league’s revenue, and they have made it known to the AFL they will not accept a pay cut to subsidize salaries for the women’s competition.

Major player: According to recent reports, the AFL is seeking a broadcaster with deeper pockets than Seven, its long-term free-to-air television partner, after years of falling ratings

Major player: According to recent reports, the AFL is seeking a broadcaster with deeper pockets than Seven, its long-term free-to-air television partner, after years of falling ratings

Getting into sport: Amazon Prime Video streams the NFL's Thursday Night Football broadcasts, and there is speculation the AFL may be prepared to sell a mid-week game to the streaming platform once its current deal with Seven ends after 2024

Getting into sport: Amazon Prime Video streams the NFL’s Thursday Night Football broadcasts, and there is speculation the AFL may be prepared to sell a mid-week game to the streaming platform once its current deal with Seven ends after 2024

In past years, the AFL has been a blockbuster ratings for Seven and it continues to be a strong performer.

But a broader analysis of the numbers shows a steady decline for AFL coverage on Seven, with an 18 per cent fall over the past five years.

In 2017, Seven could look forward to out-rating its subscription TV rival Foxtel by half a million viewers, but that figure is has been halved in 2022, reports The Age.

Declining ratings: Fans are deserting Seven's AFL coverage in high numbers.  (Pictured: fans at the 2021 AFL Grand Final between the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs)

Declining ratings: Fans are deserting Seven’s AFL coverage in high numbers. (Pictured: fans at the 2021 AFL Grand Final between the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs)

Kayo, the live and on-demand streaming service from Foxtel, is averaging more than 139,000 viewers in the first month of the 2022 AFL season.

Recent developments indicate the streamers already in the Australian market are getting more involved in sport.

Amazon Prime Video streams the NFL’s Thursday Night Football broadcasts, and there is speculation the AFL may be prepared to sell a mid-week game to the platform once its current deal with Seven ends after 2024.

Australian streamer Stan, owned by Nine, has spent $100million on a deal for rugby broadcasts over the next three years.

Fans' first choice: Kayo, the live and on-demand streaming service from Foxtel, is averaging 139,000+ viewers in the first month of the 2022 AFL season, which is no doubt a worry for Channel Seven.  (Pictured: Footy fans at last year's AFL Grand Final at Optus Stadium in Perth)

Fans’ first choice: Kayo, the live and on-demand streaming service from Foxtel, is averaging 139,000+ viewers in the first month of the 2022 AFL season, which is no doubt a worry for Channel Seven. (Pictured: Footy fans at last year’s AFL Grand Final at Optus Stadium in Perth)

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