The AFL is in a world of hurt financially and as an industry the football world is hurting and struggling to find a way out of the hole.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the AFL to its knees and ground the season to a halt after only round one of football being played.
Staff are being let go left, right and centre while football departments are being stood down across the board. Geelong coach Chris Scott has opted to work without pay to help his football club financially, while Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson has taken a heavy pay cut.
However, the league has secured a bank loan believed to be north of $500 million from NAB and ANZ to keep the game afloat, according to AFL Media’s Damian Barrett.
“I want to thank the NAB and the ANZ for their support but I also want to stress that while this is a relief, it is not a return to business as usual or a release valve,” McLachlan told AFL Media.
“The football community is, like businesses across every sector, still very much in the financial fight of its life with the losses this year stretching to many hundreds of millions of dollars.
“What this means is we have a chance to get through but we will only get through this period if we are united as an industry and every one of us at all levels of the AFL continue to make the hard decisions to drastically and urgently cut costs.”
The loan will counteract the loss that the AFL has suffered with broadcasting money grinding to a halt as a result of there being no product to be broadcast. While gate taking revenue has been off the market since before the season started as no fans were permitted to attend games.
The AFL yesterday reached out to its 18 clubs with a document asking clubs abide by new financial instructions put in place by the AFL, refrain from any private commercial arrangements while the league comes to grips with the current financial climate.
The document didn’t have specifics on how the clubs will be required to operate financially yet but are expecting those details soon.
AFL executives have been in discussions with the NAB, the AFL’s banker and corporate partner about seeking a loan.
The AFL’s largest asset is Marvel Stadium, the league acquired the Docklands based stadium in 2016 gaining management rights and freehold ownership.
The AFL acquired the stadium for $200 million in 2016 despite having a deal that would allow them to purchase the venue in 2025 for a measly $30.
That purchase has proved to be an invaluable move with the stadium providing a line of credit as well as looming as the venue to play host to games if and when football is allowed to resume.