Home clubs sponsored by betting agencies can still show their commercials in their allocated scoreboard time.
The MCG will remove gambling advertising from its scoreboard next season following the personal intervention of AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick.
The contentious replay highlights branded by the international online betting company bet365 incurred Fitzpatrick’s wrath and saw him call for that company’s removal from the scoreboard.
Fitzpatrick communicated his dislike earlier this season for the flash advertising to both his CEO, Gillon McLachlan, and Melbourne Cricket Club chief Stephen Gough. It has been a bone of contention with the AFL for some time that it does not control the scoreboard at its biggest stadium, which is leased by the MCG to Stadia Media.
Gough told Fairfax Media on Wednesday that the advertising would not appear again in 2015 but that his stadium had to honour its agreement with the betting company and Stadia Media that expires at the end of this season.
While the bet365 flash promotions, which run for one quarter of every MCG game, have angered Fitzpatrick, who supported the removal of live odds from AFL scoreboards several years ago, home clubs sponsored by betting agencies can still show their commercials in their allocated scoreboard time.
“The brand flash advertising that goes with replays of highlights and goals won’t be there next year,” said Gough. “I can’t tell you what ads will show that are beyond my control but the one I can control will change next year.”
The MCG banned live odds shown on its scoreboard in 2011 and the AFL followed suit at Etihad Stadium. More recently the AFL has come under fire from community leaders for trialling live games online in a rewards deal for TAB customers.
The online game trial comes with the AFL expected to reach a lucrative new gambling partnership with the four-year exclusive Tabcorp deal due to finish at the end of October. It has been reported by Fairfax Media that the AFL could expand its front-line deal, with William Hill Australia and Matt Tripp’s BetEasy both in the frame.
McLachlan refused to comment on the AFL’s strategy for its next gambling partnerships or whether the strategy was to expand the partnerships.
Bet365 is a British-based online betting group which has come under scrutiny in the UK for political donations made by company directors, which have been linked to the relaxing of gambling laws in that country.