Mandy Money

Mandy Money

the AFL business model

If you have clicked on this page, you probably love footy. That’s good, so do we! If you have ever wondered about the behind-the-scenes finances, well, here you go:

To unpack the sexy slides above, let’s try answer a few key questions…

Is the AFL a for profit business?

Yes, but also no.

Yes, in the sense that each year it tries to make as much profit (operating surplus if we are getting technical) as possible.

No because unlike other companies, it dosen’t have any owners. No one is entitled to that operating surplus, it is either saved or reinvested into the sport.

How does the AFL make money?

There are a few different ways that the AFL makes money, ranging from footy records licensing to mega-deals with TV stations.

Here are the two big ones from 2019:

  • TV rights – the AFL currently holds a 6-year $2.5 billion TV deal with Channel 7, Telstra and Foxtel
  • Corporate sponsorship – big advertising deals with giants like Toyota, NAB and Coles net the league a pretty penny (or twelve).

Are clubs financially independent of the AFL?

Although all 18 clubs operate as their own financial entities, they still rely on the AFL for a booster.

In 2019 the AFL clubs recieved $315m from the AFL in compensation for their contribution to the sport. Not all clubs recieved the same amount, however; bigger clubs with greater earning capacity recieve less than smaller clubs who are more reliant on the AFL.

The core function of the AFL is not to make money, but to govern the sport. Ironically, governing the sport happens to include managing plenty of money!

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