Sportsbet Tries to Extend AFL Deal Before BetR

Ben H / 7 September 2022

Sportsbet has a multi-million sponsorship deal with the AFL that expires in 2025. Now that may seem like a lot of time before one starts thinking of renewing the deal, but Sportsbet thinks otherwise.

According to reports, the largest betting operator in Australia is doing everything it can to extend that AFL partnership deal until 2030 because it knows that when News Corp’s new sportsbook, BetR, enters the market, things will be very different.

If Sportsbet is successful and manages to extend the current deal, other bookmakers won’t be allowed to work with the AFL and will be prevented from advertising their promotions during games. That would be a massive achievement for Sportsbet and here’s why.

Sportsbet Tries to Protect Its Position from BetR’s Imminent Market Offensive

Anonymous sources told The Sydney Morning Herald that nothing has been agreed between Sportsbet and the AFL yet. However, the AFL is currently involved in negotiations with broadcasters and there’s a big chance it would strike a deal with Foxtel and Seven until 2030. And the people at Sportsbet feel that a broadcaster like Foxtel might use its AFL partnership to influence the AFL’s choice of betting partner.

That potential AFL betting partner that Sportsbet is trying to isolate with this deal is BetR. News Corp’s new betting operator will be spearheaded by Matthew Tripp (of Sportsbet and BetEasy fame) and CEO Andrew Menz.

The thing that worries Sportsbet is that BetEasy was the AFL’s betting partner before its merger with Sportsbet. So to say that Matthew Tripp knows a thing or two about striking a deal with the AFL would be an understatement.

Tripp is also Australia’s most successful bookmaking personality, as before launching BetEasy in 2014, he turned Sportsbet into Australia’s second-biggest sportsbook that was only behind the TAB.

With Tripp at the helm, BetR would have excellent chances of snatching the AFL sponsorship deal from Sportsbet, especially as new betting outfits like BetR see partnerships as crucial when it comes to building profile.

Foxtel Synergy

Another thing that probably worries Sportsbet is that BetR, just like Murdoch-owned FoxBet in the US, will allow the broadcaster that gets the AFL rights to take an equity stake. Sportsbet’s thinking is that as soon as BetR launches, it will capitalize on news outlets the Murdocs own such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun.

More importantly, though, BetR will instantly benefit from its affiliation with Foxtel, the broadcaster of the AFL, NRL and cricket in Australia, where the Murdochs have 60% ownership.

BetR to Reshape the Australian Betting Scene

So, for Sportsbet, the only way to stop BetR from striking a deal with their current partner is to extend the deal they have right now. That will be easier said than done, though, as BetR is intent on getting things off the ground as quickly as possible.

The new betting outfit has already submitted a bid to get the WA license that WA TAB currently holds, and has also expressed interest in obtaining a betting license in Victoria.

As we reported recently, BetR also purchased corporate bookie TexBet. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the new betting operator made an offer to buy PointsBet too.

Matthew Tripp and Andrew Menz’s strategy is as remarkable as it is simple. The two digital wagering pioneers plan to make BetR one of the best betting operators in Australia by taking market share from high-profile bookies such as Flutter Entertainment’s Sportsbet, Entain-owned Ladbrokes and Neds, and retail wagering giant Tabcorp.

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Ben H
Ben Harris is the Communications Manager for KRUZEY, an AFL expert, and writer. He has one daughter that he loves dearly and four children's books... [Read full bio]

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