Breaking News: The 7 Network will continue to broadcast AFL to 2024 in a deal done minutes before the return of football.

The 2020 season has kicked off tonight with a “blockbuster” matchup at the MCG in front of empty stands and a big TV audience at home.

In a statement to the ASX, the 7 network said it would see a saving of $87 million due to a shortened 2020 season.

“Seven has today announced a revised contract with the AFL for season 2020 as well as 2021 and 2022.”

7 will “derive $87 million in net benefits over the existing contract period (2020 – 2022) in media rights reduction, product savings and other benefits.”

The 7West media statement.

SWM Managing Director and CEO, James Warburton said:

We can’t wait to bring the Footy back to the fans tonight. The AFL and Seven are a core part of each other’s DNA, and we are delighted to have not only reached a revised agreement for the current contract term, but to have extended our relationship for a further two seasons taking the agreement through until the end of 2024. I’d like to thank AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan and the AFL Commission for their commitment which gives certainty to both parties over the next five years.

So far, pay TV provider News Corp have failed to reach a deal for non commercial free TV rights.

More details to come.

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Ryan is Contributing Editor