Demetriou talks up next AFL rights deal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demetriou talks up next AFL rights deal

By Roger Vaughan 28/03/2009 04:39:33 PM Comments (0)

Confidence about another record broadcast rights deal is buoying the AFL as they prepare for a long expansion campaign in western Sydney.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has also continued the league's campaign for better stadium deals in Melbourne, again calling the MCG's counter-offer "insulting" and talking up the prospect of a third venue in the city.

While the league is looking forward to their next broadcast negotiations, Demetriou said the AFL were cutting costs to cope with the tough economic times - including a $500,000 budget slash for the grand final entertainment.

Demetriou conducted a series of pre-game radio interviews before Saturday's Collingwood-Adelaide match at the MCG.

The AFL has three years to run of their record $780 million broadcast deal and, despite the state of the economy, Demetriou remains bullish about the upcoming negotiations.

"I think we'll get more than we got last time, but the world has changed ... we'll put our best foot forward," he told the ABC.

Demetriou did not deny that a broadcast executive had informally asked him at a function whether the AFL would accept $780 million for a new deal now.

"You have dialogue from time to time and often across a dinner table or at a function - you have a bit of banter here and there," he said.

"But we're not in formal dialogue with the broadcasters ... it's probably not the right time to be talking about it.

"If you're a broadcaster, you'd probably like to do the same deal again."

Demetriou said on 3AW that the expansion teams on the Gold Coast and in western Sydney would cost $200 million over six years.

He also admitted on the ABC it would take more than a decade for the contentious western Sydney project to bear fruit for the game.

"I don't think you'll see the rewards of a second Sydney team for 10-15 years, it's a long-term project," he said.

"It's not going to be easy, but the cost of doing nothing far outweighs the cost of doing something."

Demetriou again lashed out at the MCG and Etihad Stadium over the club stadium deals, saying the league was not close to resolving those disputes.

"At the moment, the things that are being put forward to the clubs are insulting," he said of the MCG's 10-year counter-offer," he said.

Demetriou said Melbourne might need a third venue once the competition goes to 18 teams in 2012.

He also linked this issue to the disputes with the MCG and Etihad Stadium.

"It may have to, because when we go to 18 teams ... there's probably an extra 30-35 games," he said.

"The way things are happening here (MCG) and (Etihad Stadium), I don't know why we'd actually bring the games here.

"I can tell you, it was raised by the clubs at our presidents' meeting ... there are always possibilities and options."

Demetriou said he was determined that no staff at the AFL would lose their jobs in the grim economic climate.

"We've cut about $3.5 million and now another $500,000 out of our cost base," he said.

"I have said to my staff and I've given this commitment, what I don't want to do is shed jobs."

He said half a million dollars of those savings had come from the grand final entertainment budget.

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