Telstra and AFL strike fresh players agreement for digital content

Extension to the existing digital rights agreement between the two companies will see Telstra working to generate digital content from players to build fan engagement

From left: AFL's Gillon McLachlan; Telstra's Joe Pollard; AFL players association's Paul Marsh; and AFL player, Sean Docherty
From left: AFL's Gillon McLachlan; Telstra's Joe Pollard; AFL players association's Paul Marsh; and AFL player, Sean Docherty

Telstra and the AFL are teaming up on a new digital content and events play aimed at encouraging stronger engagement between football players and their fans.

The new deal, which the companies claim is the first of its kind involving a sports league, players’ association and commercial partner, will see Telstra, the AFL and the AFL Players Association work to generate and publish digital content to share with footy fans.

Fifty star players from national AFL clubs will also be selected based on their influence to also become Telstra ambassadors, appearing during Telstra store openings and community events such as coaching clinics and meet-and-greets.

The latest deal sits on top of an existing digital rights agreement between the AFL and Telstra running until 2022. As part of this agreement, Telstra created the AFL Live Official App and the Telstra Media AFL Digital Network. The telco has been working with the AFL since 2002.

In a statement, Telstra group executive of media and CMO, Joe Pollard, said the intention is to work with the AFL and players to create social media content for fans and exclusive moments for the telco’s customers virtually and physically.

“We already play a big role in bringing Australians closer to the game through the AFL Live official app. This new agreement takes our involvement and commitment to the AFL to a new level,” she said.

“We want to open a new door to give our customers the chance to get to know the personalities involved in our great game so they can build deeper connections with their favourite players, and understand and experience the hard work, dedication and fun these incredible athletes have in their lives on and off the field.”

AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan, said the partnership was a way of innovating around the game.

“Footy fans want to connect with the game, their clubs and most importantly, with the players,” he said.

AFL Players Association CEO, Paul Marsh, also said the partnership demonstrates a commitment to identify new ways to strengthen the industry and grow the game’s footprint nationally. It’s also designed to help players retiring from the game by recognising their ongoing contribution to the sport.

“Over the next five years, AFL players aim to enhance the fan experience by creating new, interesting and engaging content for everyone to enjoy,” Marsh said. “ Every AFL player will benefit from the partnership, including through greater contributions into the player retirement scheme.”

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