It just might be the biggest sporting broadcast of the year, but somewhat surprisingly there is still no legal way to watch the 2021 AFL Grand Final on your mobile phone.
UPDATE: The AFL now confirmed a last-minute deal was negotiated on Friday evening which will allow Australian fans to stream to stream this year’s AFL Grand Final on phone or table devices using the the official AFL app.
The use of Airplay or Chromecast will not be supported.
Streaming via the AFL website will also not be supported.
Saturday nights long-awaited encounter between the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs is expected to be a ratings blockbuster for the Seven Network with millions of locked down Australians expected to gather in lounge rooms across the country to watch Channel 7’s live and free coverage.
But what about those fans that don’t have easy access to free-to-air television?
While the majority of Australia still has easy access to a free-to-air signal, recent studies confirm there is a growing section of the population, particularly in the younger demographic who have now grown up to be not particularly interested in commercial programming and happily live their lives consuming video only on phones or laptops.
In 2021 there is now a significant portion of the population that don’t own televisions, or the TV’s they do own are not connected to a free-to-air antenna. So why are the AFL and broadcasters not doing more to capture this audience?
The 2021 Grand Final will be available to stream live in 720p high definition via the 7plus platform, but only if you have access to a limited range of applications. At this stage, it appears there will be no legal method for Australians to watch the biggest game of the year on mobile devices or via the AFL website.
In the past 12 months, Foxtel has negotiated an extension of its broadcast contract with the AFL which now runs until the end of 2024.
The new deal has seen the previous AFL Live Pass program replaced by a new partnership with Kayo. However, this arrangement excludes two of the code’s most significant events, the Brownlow Medal and the Grand Final, which are now both exclusive to the Seven Network.
To stream this year’s contest, footy fans will need access to one of the following devices: a Telstra TV, Samsung Tizen (2016 and later), Fetch TV, Apple TV, PlayStation 4 or Playstation 5, Android TV/Google TV or LG TV.
TV Blackbox has made repeated requests to the AFL and broadcasters across the week to discuss this issue, but we are yet to receive any form of response.