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Australian Football League (AFL)
Australian Football League.svg
FormerlyVictorian Football League
(1897–1989)
SportAustralian rules football
Founded2 October 1896; 124 years ago (1896-10-02)
Inaugural season1897
CEOGillon McLachlan
No. of teams18
CountryAustralia
HeadquartersMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
Most recent
champion(s)
Richmond
(13th premiership)
Most titlesCarlton
Essendon
(16 premierships)
TV partner(s)
Sponsor(s)Toyota
Related
competitions
Official websiteafl.com.au

The Australian Football League (AFL) is the pre-eminent and only fully professional men's competition of Australian rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport's governing body, and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game. Originally known as the Victorian Football League (VFL), it was founded in 1896 as a breakaway competition from the Victorian Football Association (VFA), with its inaugural season commencing the following year. The VFL, aiming to become a national competition, began expanding beyond Victoria to other Australian states in the 1980s, and changed its name to the AFL in 1990.

The league currently consists of 18 teams spread over five of Australia's six states (Tasmania being the exception). Matches have been played in all states and mainland territories of Australia, as well as in New Zealand and China to promote the sport abroad. The AFL season currently consists of a 23-round regular (or "home-and-away") season, which runs during the Australian winter (March to September). The team with the best record after the home-and-away series is awarded the "minor premiership". The top eight teams then play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFL Grand Final, which is held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground each year. The grand final winner is termed the "premiers", and is awarded the premiership cup. The current premiers are Richmond.

AFL matches are currently broadcast in Australia by the free-to-air Seven Network, subscription television provider Foxtel, and digital content provider Telstra. The six-year deal which was announced on August 2015 covers the inclusive 2017 - 2022 seasons.[80]

The Seven Network usually broadcasts three matches from every round within the season, exceptions being the Easter (round 2) and Anzac (round 5) rounds in which five matches are aired on the free-to-air television channel. Channel Seven also airs the AFL Finals Series and the AFL Grand Final. Telstra provides live match access through the AFL Live app and official full match replays through the app and website via a purchasable AFL Live Pass, free for certain Telstra mobile customers. Foxtel also broadcasts every match through their Fox Footy channels, including simulcasts from the Seven Network except for the Grand Final, which is aired exclusively on Channel Seven. Foxtel also has the rights to air rounds on their internet protocol television platform titled Foxtel Now.

Telecast history

The 1957 VFL season was the first broadcast after the commencement of television in Australia (introduced in 1956 to coincide with the Melbourne Olympic Games). During the late 1950s and 1960s, all Melbourne stations (ABV2, HSV7, GTV9 and, after it commenced in 1965, ATV0/ATV10) broadcast some games. However, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the VFL was concerned that direct telecasts may affect attendances and stations were only permitted to telecast a delayed replay of the last quarter of games. In the early 1970s until 1986, the Seven Network and the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) were given exclusive rights to VFL/AFL games. The only year Seven did not telecast games was 1987, when the rights were bought by Broadcom, which on-sold the rights to the ABC in Victoria. Seven regained the rights in 1988 and also exclusive rights.

With the launch of subscription television in Australia, AFL match coverage commenced on cable television. Optus Vision bid for and won exclusive pay TV rights from 1996–2001, screening coverage on its own 24-hour AFL channel, branded Sports AFL in Brisbane Sydney and Melbourne (where available). The Sports AFL channel was later closed due to financial issues and relaunched in March 199

AFL matches are currently broadcast in Australia by the free-to-air Seven Network, subscription television provider Foxtel, and digital content provider Telstra. The six-year deal which was announced on August 2015 covers the inclusive 2017 - 2022 seasons.[80]

The Seven Network usually broadcasts three matches from every round within the season, exceptions being the Easter (round 2) and Anzac (round 5) rounds in which five matches are aired on the free-to-air television channel. Channel Seven also airs the AFL Finals Series and the AFL Grand Final. Telstra provides live match access through the AFL Live app and official full match replays through the app and website via a purchasable AFL Live Pass, free for certain Telstra mobile customers. Foxtel also broadcasts every match through their Fox Footy channels, including simulcasts from the Seven Network except for the Grand Final, which is aired exclusively on Channel Seven. Foxtel also has the rights to air rounds on their internet protocol television platform titled Foxtel Now.

AFL Grand Final. Telstra provides live match access through the AFL Live app and official full match replays through the app and website via a purchasable AFL Live Pass, free for certain Telstra mobile customers. Foxtel also broadcasts every match through their Fox Footy channels, including simulcasts from the Seven Network except for the Grand Final, which is aired exclusively on Channel Seven. Foxtel also has the rights to air rounds on their internet protocol television platform titled Foxtel Now.

The 1957 VFL season was the first broadcast after the commencement of television in Australia (introduced in 1956 to coincide with the Melbourne Olympic Games). During the late 1950s and 1960s, all Melbourne stations (ABV2, HSV7, GTV9 and, after it commenced in 1965, ATV0/ATV10) broadcast some games. However, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the VFL was concerned that direct telecasts may affect attendances and stations were only permitted to telecast a delayed replay of the last quarter of games. In the early 1970s until 1986, the Seven Network and the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) were given exclusive rights to VFL/AFL games. The only year Seven did not telecast games was 1987, when the rights were bought by Broadcom, which on-sold the rights to the ABC in Victoria. Seven regained the rights in 1988 and also exclusive rights.

With the launch of subscription television in Australia, AFL match coverage commenced on cable television. Optus Vision bid for and won exclusive pay TV rights from 1996–2001, screening coverage on its own 24-hour AFL channel, branded Sports AFL in Brisban

With the launch of subscription television in Australia, AFL match coverage commenced on cable television. Optus Vision bid for and won exclusive pay TV rights from 1996–2001, screening coverage on its own 24-hour AFL channel, branded Sports AFL in Brisbane Sydney and Melbourne (where available). The Sports AFL channel was later closed due to financial issues and relaunched in March 1999 as C7 Sport by the Seven Network with AFL match coverage also transferred to the new channel. C7 Sport became available in regional areas not in the Foxtel or Optus Vision licence area via Austar soon after the re-launch. The AFL coverage was not available through Foxtel at this time as the Seven Network and Foxtel disagreed on the cost of carrying the C7 channel. These issues regarding C7 and AFL broadcasting rights evolved into a court case between not just the Seven Network and News Limited, but Seven against the owners of the Nine Network and Network Ten in the years that followed.