Make no mistake, the broadcasting deal the AFL has sold for rights to all its content for the next five years, is bigger than Ben Hur.
The executive of the AFL has delivered a sports broadcasting package to rival the biggest in the world when scaled appropriately.
$1.253 billion over five years equates to just over $250 million per year.
When held up against broadcast deals of the two biggest domestic leagues in the world on a per capita basis, it compares rather favourably.
It is well known that the NFL in the US attracts a $3 billion price tag per season for its television rights. Monday night football alone attracts a $1b value.
With close to 310 million inhabitants, the US has a population 14 times the size of Australia’s 22 million.
Dividing $3 billion dollars by 14 gives us a deal of roughly $215 million per year for the equivalent population that Australia has. That, in a market where American football is just about the number one sport in the country.
As we know the AFL is probably third and in many parts, the fourth football code in two of Australia’s most populous areas.
Nevertheless, broadcasters have seen reason to pay a magnificent sum for the privilege of being able to show it live into markets where ratings might not always be winning their slot.
If we cast our eyes from the US across the Atlantic to the UK, the English Premier League television rights alone, for the period 2010 to 2013, were purchased for £1.782 billion by combination of Sky Sports, Setanta (now ESPN) and the BBC.
At today’s exchange rate of $1.527 for £1.00, means that Premier League rights cost $907m per year.
Breaking it down by population of the UK where Sky Sports subscriptions can be sold, that equals $302.3m per year – trumping both the AFL and NFL.
However, what we also have to consider is that these rights take in the fact that they can be on sold for much more to the rest of the world.
Promoted as “The Greatest Show On Earth”, the Premier League is the world’s most watched sporting league, being broadcast to a potential audience of over 600 million people in 202 countries.
Of course, statistics can be written and skewed anyway you like. This is merely to provide, a positive light and perspective on the size of the agreement, when compared to the size of the population, the agreement takes in and similar arrangements in the rest of the world.
Whatever you think of the game of Australian football, the actions or policies of its governing body, right now as sports lovers, we must all recognise and applaud Andrew Demetriou and his team for selling us live sport at what is an astonishing price.
Over to you Mr Gallop.