AFL boss Gillon McLachlan. Picture: Getty Images
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan. Picture: Getty Images

Code war: NRL boss mocks AFL’s ‘false’ TV rights claims

NRL supremo Peter V'landys has accused the AFL of making up "completely false" numbers in an escalation of the code war.

The AFL has told stakeholders rugby league gave up about $300 million in its revised TV rights arrangement with Channel 9 and Foxtel, compared to the $150 million discount it gave Seven and Foxtel last week.

V'landys told the Herald Sun the claims were "fictional".

"It's not correct. It's laughable," the NRL commission chairman said.

"I'm disappointed that they feel they need to make up figures.

"Nobody knows our figures because we've kept them commercially in-confidence.

"But looking at their figures, if they have given up $150 million, we have done substantially better than them.


Peter V’landys has accused the AFL of making up ‘completely false’ numbers regarding its TV rights deal. Picture: The Australian
Peter V’landys has accused the AFL of making up ‘completely false’ numbers regarding its TV rights deal. Picture: The Australian

"And if they knew the real figures, they'd be stopping the comparisons very quickly, because it doesn't help them.

"I think they have had a dose of reality."

V'landys declared that the AFL had made "a massive mistake" in failing to extend its deal with pay TV partner Foxtel beyond 2022.

The AFL has renewed its free-to-air contract with Seven until the end of 2024, but was unable to agree to terms with Foxtel, which pays the lion's share of the game's TV money.

"What the AFL don't tell you is that the majority of revenue for both the NRL and the AFL comes from Foxtel and it was important for us at the NRL to get the major partner done first and foremost," said V'landys, who extended the NRL's deal with Foxtel until the end of 2027 last month.



"That's the one we rely on most. It's given us security of revenues for another seven years.

"We have a deal that secures our future and I think the AFL have made a massive mistake by not getting Foxtel over the line.

"And if they come back to Foxtel in 12 months' time they will be offered less.

"I hope they don't (go back to the table for 12 months). I'd be telling them, 'Don't go back boys. You've got the right strategy'."

V'landys said the AFL appeared to have a strange obsession with the NRL's affairs.

"I was always taught, 'Don't knock someone else to make yourself look good because it never works'," V'landys said.

"I have never dwelt into their business, I've never made a comment about their business unless someone asked me a question, yet they have this fascination with our business.

"The AFL should concentrate on itself and not worry about other businesses.

"I don't worry about them. I'm focused on getting the best deal for the NRL.

"For them to go out and say such fiction without knowing is a concern about them more so than us.

"I don't know where they are getting their fictional figures from because they are not accurate. They are completely false."

The AFL's revised five-year, $730 million deal with Seven for 2020-2024 includes an undisclosed amount of contra.

Originally published as Code war: NRL boss mocks AFL's 'completely false' TV rights claims