1998 – The MCC enters TV rights

In 1998 the AFL and the MCC were at loggerheads as the MCC stated that it had the right to determine who broadcast what from their facility. This came about when the MCC objected to the use of virtual signage by the Australian Rugby Union for a Bledisloe Cup match.

As a result, the MCC determined that it, and it alone, could determine what broadcasters could enter the stadium, regardless of deals and arragements sports had made. The MCC was widely quoted as saying it did not recognise the AFLs exclusive arrangements and intended to enter the broadcast rights arena from 2001.

The AFL, according to the 1998 Annual Report, called the posturing absurd, believing it to be without foundation, given the AFL had broadcast from the stadium for 40 years without this issue coming up.

The AFL estimated that between 70 and 80% of all revenue at the MCG was generated from the AFL in 1998, and that its fixturing at the MCG had allowed the MCGs Southern Stand to be paid off 8 years ahead of schedule.

  • Source: AFL 1998 Annual Report, pg 55

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