Nine already broadcasts the NRL, the AFL’s main competitor, under a deal that runs until the end of 2027, while Stan broadcasts rugby union.

Each of the free networks explained how they could stream, with games split between free, alternative channels and streaming services such as 9Now and 7plus.

Sources have confirmed that Paramount, which owns CBS in the US and has recently paid billions for Indian Premier League cricket streaming rights, still wants to win the full rights package – free and paid. He did not want to win the rights and then sell particular time slots, such as Friday or Saturday nights, as had been speculated.

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Each of the media chief executives was represented at meetings with McLachlan, including Seven’s James Warburton and his Melbourne lieutenant Lewis Martin, Ten co-chiefs Jarrod Villani and Bev McGarvey, Nine boss Mike Sneesby and CEO of Foxtel Patrick Delany and his key Fox Sports executive Steve Crawley.

The fact that Chairman Goyder and two other commissioners – Seek co-founder Paul Bassat and former Macquarie Capital boss Robin Bishop – took part in the pitch meetings is a measure of the stakes for the AFL, which has become even more more reliant on broadcast revenue during the pandemic. The AFL is awaiting the next broadcast deal before reaching a pay deal with the male players and detailing funding for the 18 clubs. The new deal will be completed before McLachlan steps down as AFL CEO at the end of the season.

While the AFL also met with global tech giant Amazon in Los Angeles in April, age and Herald cannot confirm the extent of his interest in gaining a foothold in the AFL. There has been speculation that Amazon would be interested in grabbing a Thursday night slot if the AFL expands to play Thursday night games almost every week home and away.

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