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Fantasy media melee: News leaks AFLPA Dream Team document

DT vs SC in the Oz

The Australian newspaper has leaked a sensitive AFLPA document drawing the battle lines over fantasy footy.

The story Rivals scramble for fantasy football dollars by Simon Canning in the business section of Monday’s Australian newspaper is the first mainstream media article in what I suspect to be a long line detailing the squabbling by a large number of parties over the increasing profits to be made in fantasy football. Canning’s scoop is a document sent by the AFL Players Association to the 16 players in the Dream Team Player League, which contains some of the biggest names in the game. In addition to the figure of $1500 that is being paid to each player to spruik for Dream Team in interviews – such as Luke Hodge on the DT Talk podcast – the letter lets slip the concerns that the association and others have over the rise of Super Coach past the official DT competition in registrations, as I blogged about recently.

Let’s take a step back here. What are we fighting over? There are a large number of stakeholders in this battle and they each have their own agendas.

The AFL holds all of the copyrights, but it appears not to be involving itself in public at this stage.
The AFLPA wants to get a cut from fantasy footy for use of players’ intellectual property.
News Limited is only interested in newspaper circulation and page views, beating the absent Fairfax over the head in the marketplace.
VirtualSports (aka VaporMedia) operates both the DT and SC competitions, so it’s a Swiss banker as far as taking sides are concerned.
Champion Data provides its specially formulated ranking points to News as their Super Coach scores, but is part owned by the AFL.
Telstra pays the AFL $12 million per year for rights to exclusive Internet content, in the third year of a five year deal.
FanFooty (and its brethren) is interested in providing live stats for both DT and SC to enhance fans’ enjoyment of fantasy football.
Last but not least the fans, who are angry that they can’t get live scoring for Super Coach for reasons they don’t understand.

As you can see, we have some parties at loggerheads here. The AFLPA wants to push Dream Team because it gets no cut from Super Coach. Champion and VS get a cut from both, and are interested in both becoming bigger. Telstra is even more annoyed at News than the AFLPA because News is agitating to be given live online scoring on Superfooty, which cuts into their online turf for which they are paying top dollar. Champion Data has been instructed to restrict the flow of Super Coach scores to News, though the source of that decision is uncertain… with News firmly pointing the bone at Telstra.

News loves to push its corporate agenda through the Australian newspaper, and this article is no different. Their long-term aim is clearly to unseat Telstra from its exclusivity in the next Internet rights deal, which won’t start until 2012. Fantasy football has kind of come underneath the radar for the AFL’s Internet rights policy, and their failure to account for the rise of newspapers wanting their own online properties to benefit from fans’ insatiable demand for fantasy footy products is at the heart of this dispute. At the time of the last deal’s negotiation in 2006, Super Coach was only in its first year and lagging well behind the official Dream Team competition in registrations. Sportswear deals on Rebel Sport Catalogue.

The AFL should have foreseen, if it had done a skerrick of research, that the Australian industry was developing along British lines, not American ones. English newspapers dominate the industry with huge salary cap competitions surrounding the English Premier League. AFL Dream Team is a salary cap competition, well suited to newspapers (and mainstream media Web sites) who crave competitions with rules allowing mass entry and low barrier to enjoyment. Private draft leagues, the hallmark of the US industry, have never taken off here, with the AFL’s own Premium Dream Team private draft league product still in limbo this year after round 3, and not looking like launching with any kind of fanfare in 2009, if at all.

Some of the claims in the article, like the one that Super Coach is “like having a major natural disaster on the front page every Monday and Friday”, are perhaps a bit overblown, but that’s the way that News plays it. This is a story we’ll hear more and more about during the current AFL internet rights contract. The AFL is now in the invidious position of having got both News and Telstra riled up on this issue. It is a rod for their back of their own making.



  1. haryscary

    April 17, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    its a disgrace…full stop

  2. What

    April 17, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    You’re a disgrace. This website provides you with free information year round and you complain the one time it’s down on a Friday night? You colossal douche. Go away and leave those of us that appreciate the work done here in peace.

  3. Blink

    April 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    @What, Monty makes a fair bit of dough from running this site, so its customers (even if they do not directly pay Monty) should be taken care of. I think haryscary has a point, even though he could of just gone to the AFL website if he was that desperate

  4. ETOH

    April 18, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    wot is going on with the new prices/be’s: theyre stuffed

  5. Dicko

    April 18, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Bugger off hairyscary. Find another site and abuse them.

  6. McGintos

    April 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm

  7. benno benno

    April 20, 2009 at 12:52 am

    haryscary i think your point is stronger when you say it twice say it twice.
    almost like a rhyme. now what rhymes with “its a disgrace its a disgrace”? how ’bout shuduppayaface?

  8. Tim

    April 20, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Hairyscary must be a private school boy – he seems to have this vulgar sense of unearned entitlement.

    Just another fkn human vacuum sucking up what he can and contributing nothing.

  9. haryscary

    April 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm


    A few points need to be made here.

    1. Monty would not do this site for fun – he makes money from advertisingm and so me and everyone else who visits he site assist with MAKING MONTY MONEY

    2. With the above point in mind, and the fact that Monty has set this site up and is supposed to run it efficiently, its an absolute disgrace that the site was down on Friday evening during the Collingwood V Brisbane game. Wht not do it during the week and spare people of mollys useless un-informed match reports??

    3. Monty if your going to run a site like this, (and youve said yourself its grown by 100%), the upgrade your servers accordingly so that the site oes not continue to crash over and over again every single weekend. This to is simply un-acceptable and needs to be fuxed.

    4. Monty – Obviously i can go over to and get the numbers…. but this is not the point – if your going to run a site and profit from it (profiting because of US the viitors and members) then do it properly or not at all

    All of this may seem unreasonable to some – however, if monty is not prepared to run things proffesionally then people will simply go elsewhere – OR – it will not take long for someone else to develop a better way of doing things in seasons to come.

    Smarten up your act monty – the last two weekends on this site have been poor due to the site being down friday and consisten crashing of the site throughout the weekend.

    Yours truly


  10. Tim

    April 20, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Hairyscary – my crude understanding of capitalism is that m0nty has an obligation to anyone who pays him money, not to those whose actions might make him money.

    You pay him nothing and he owes you jack sh!t. Indeed, you owe him a fkn apology you greedy leech.

    You might want to think about that after mummy tucks you in tonight.

  11. J Edgar Hoover

    April 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Will ALL you damn communist hippy pinko wingydingers just clear off!

  12. Disco (UK)

    April 20, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    haryscary – m0nty will do what the fuck he likes. The sooner you fuck off elsewhere, the better.

  13. jeremy

    April 21, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Calm down people it’s just a game inside a game. Maybe the prize money should be taken away from both SC and DT, because it seems that anything involving money makes people pigheadish. Just enjoy what’s available or start your own website, otherwise smarten the F up.

    Anyway SC is better, all those DT arguments are flawed, as they try to pick out SC weaknesses, which DT is no better at. Also realisticly you’ll know how your player is going in SC because if he marks an opposition balls, or kicks to his team mates, you know that he will score well. However, if he kicks it to the opposition all day, and gives away frees, you know he will score sh!t.

  14. Daniel

    April 24, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Making members pay to use this site would be the dumbest thing monty could do!
    Yes, people would sign up at first but then some other nerd would just make a free site and make money purely off the advertising knowing that he is gonna steal monty’s members anyway, because why pay for something that is offered free?!?!

    dont fix it if it aint broke!

    DT is Better. SC is for children

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