[VFL]1957 – 1986


The league agreed to allow all three metropolitan Melbourne stations to show the last quarter of matches, and the league received 500 pounds for this in 1958. However, league attendances plummeted, and the league decided not to continue.


  • 1960 – the VFL rejects an offer of 14,000 pounds to broadcast the last quarter and replays
  • 1961 – TV stations no longer permitted to show live telecasts or replays. Replay of Grand Final allowed in last-minute deal. Crowds rose by 360,000 over the course of the year.
  • 1962 – TV stations now permitted to show replays of VFL matches. Any station could do so for 600 pounds. At one stage during the 60’s, every TV station in Melbourne was showing a replay on Sunday night, including the ABC.

1971 – 1975 

Channel 7 and the ABC pay $200,000 per year for Television replays.

1976 – 1980

At the end of 1976 (the year in which colour television was introduced in Australia), the VFL entered a five-year agreement with ABC and HSV giving them the replay rights for home and-away games for approximately $3 million or $600,000 a year; compared with $200,000 for each of the previous five years.  In 1977, the VFL received another $200,000 from HSV for the revamped
night series at VFL Park – called the Amco Cup after the major sponsor. In 1977 the Grand Final was televised live for the first time. The VFL received another $100,000 for that and, since the
match was drawn for the first time in VFL history, for the replay as well.

In all, in 1977 the VFL received close to $1 million for the broadcast rights of its games, a substantial amount when it is considered that the annual club turnover at this time was about $700,000 (although, when distributed twelve ways, it provides only $80,000 to each club) .


In 1981, the Ten Network puts in a substantial bid totalling $2.26 million per year, with News Limited also promising much support for the Swans in Sydney via the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mirror. However Seven put in a higher bid of 2.85m in the first year, topping out at 3.4 million in 1984.


At the end of this deal, The newly formed VFL Commission discovered that there had never been a formal contract with Seven Melbourne in the first place.

According to ” The Economic Development of the Victorian Football League 1960-1984 ” (RK Stewart)

The popularity of VFL matches is also reflected in the television viewing habits of Melbourne residents. On 21 July 1980, 26% of all households with television receivers were tuned to Channel 7’s “Big League”, an evening replay of three afternoon VFL matches.

At the same time, another 7% of television sets were tuned to Channel 2’s evening replay. The Sterling Cup, a mid-week knock out competition featuring predominantly VFL clubs and a few South Australian and Western Australian league clubs, has consistently achieved impressive rating figures.1 The match of Tuesday 26 July, 1983 (a final) rated 28. The 1983 VFL ratings climaxed in September when the Grand Final was televised live. It peaked at 52. Few other television sports can match the popularity of VFL football.