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Expert Analysis or Extreme Analysis?

By Andrew Price

HAVE members of the AFL media gone too far in their reporting of the game?

Is this a result of the $1.235 bn TV rights deal the AFL signed in 2011?

A night game at the AFL

The MCG at a night game. Source: sufw via Flickr

Every young boy in Australia grows up dreaming to be an AFL superstar. I was no different. It seemed the dream life. But in recent weeks, I have started to notice the merry-go-round which can be the media. Everything players do is scrutinised. The way the talk, speak, act and even communicate on social networks. Has this gone too far?

I think so. But as they say, it’s simply the nature of the beast. Like any high-profile sport, those who pay the bills call the shots. investment demands profits. Profits are realised through exposure. Exposure is attained through news.

Subscription service Foxtel, Channel 7 and Bigpond paid lots of money for the AFL TV rights. And arguably so, they are free to publish what content they need to ensure profit margins are met.

The first example I’d like to mention is the Gary Ablett Jr. tweet saga. It seems as though players themselves have no right to comment on the game. Not even through social media such as Twitter. While some people such as Western Bulldogs President David Smorgon condoned Ablett’s actions, media personality Damien Barrett was quick to remind everyone how ridiculous the situation had become.

Ablett's tweet regarding tagger Ryan Crowley raised the issue of player opinion

Other examples of players being subject to scrutiny in recents weeks include Lance Franklin of Hawthorn and Josh Hunt of Geelong. Once again Damien Barrett has stepped in siding with the player.

The simple fact is that sport sells. Much too as does scandal and conflict. In light of the record breaking TV rights deal, Foxtel, Channel 7 and Bigpond have multiplied their coverage of football.

Foxtel, for those fortunate in a position to afford  it, have their own Fox Footy channel. New shows on the channel include AFL 360, League Teams, Open Mike, and Supercoach among many.

Coverage of the game is at an all-time high. Consequently players will be under the microscope more than ever before.

Fingers crossed reporting does not result in the unfortunate sequence of events that unfolded when LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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