TV deal offers boost to WAFL

Mark Duffield
Coming to Seven: WAFL signs deal with Seven. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

Channel Seven will telecast WAFL matches this year after the WA Football Commission clinched a three-year deal for 18 home-and-away games plus finals to be shown on free-to-air television Statewide.

Main broadcast partner McDonald's will assume the naming rights sponsorship of the WAFL.

After a protracted search for broadcast partners over almost a year, the WAFC yesterday confirmed it had secured four: McDonald's, automotive retailer AHG, reiwa.com and TABtouch.

Chief operating officer Nick Sautner said he was optimistic a fifth sponsor could be secured, which would further offset the $1 million annual cost of providing the telecast.

The WAFC will contribute $100,000 in 2015 towards the telecasts and WAFL clubs will be asked to divert their annual $8000 marketing subsidy towards it.

Mr Sautner said the WAFC regarded telecasts of games as crucial to the competition's profile and to the opportunities for clubs to market themselves.

It also gave young players a chance to showcase themselves to AFL clubs.

"We want the WAFL to be the premier State league competition, providing the football community with a pathway into the AFL system," Mr Sautner.

"The best possible opportunity for the players to get exposure and the competition and clubs to flourish is by having maximum exposure and maximum marketing opportunities."

A similar deal for SANFL matches last year generated an 89 per cent increase in viewing audience and a 5 per cent increase in match-day attendances, Mr Sautner said.

"We would like to exceed what occurred in South Australia," he said. "In the first year, there are going to be teething challenges but there is also a great opportunity associated with this.

"We are yet to formalise fixtures but we have given the clubs a commitment to consult them throughout that process."

He confirmed telecasts would be from every WAFL venue.

The 18 games agreed to will not allow a telecast every week and it was yet to be decided which would be missed. But the WAFC was determined to make a big impression in the first two rounds before the AFL season started.

"We have a great opportunity with two rounds prior to the AFL season to kick off WA football and maximise our exposure," Mr Sautner said. "We would want to make sure they are in a prime time opportunity for viewing."