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A new partnership with AFL players to grow the game

Telstra News Entertainment

Posted on June 4, 2018

4 min read

Today, we held a joint press conference with the AFL Players’ Association, in partnership with the AFL, to announce a new player agreement to cross-promote the national competition and Telstra’s services that enhance fans’ access to AFL content.

The landmark deal, believed to be the first of its kind involving a sports league, players’ association and commercial partner, covers the entire AFL playing group and forms part of the AFL and Telstra’s digital rights agreement, which runs to 2022.

Telstra and the AFL will work with the players to generate digital content and facilitate player appearances to give fans more insight and access to their favourite players. This will include hosting AFL player content onto the combined, official AFL and Telstra digital network.

Gillon McLachlan, AFL CEO, said: “We’re always exploring new ways to innovate our game with Telstra. Footy fans want to connect with the game, their clubs and, most importantly, with the players. We want to bring fans and players closer together.” said Mr McLachlan.

Paul Marsh, AFL Players’ Association CEO, said: “This partnership demonstrates the players’ commitment to working with the AFL and its partners to identify new ways to strengthen the industry and grow the game. Over the next five years, AFL players aim to enhance the fan experience by creating new, interesting and engaging content for everyone to enjoy.”

“Every AFL player will benefit from the partnership, including through greater contributions into the player retirement scheme.” Mr Marsh said.

In addition to Telstra customers enjoying mobile streaming of every AFL game live, fast and data-free, the new agreement with the AFL Players’ Association ensures:

  • Every AFL player is available to create digital content that will be shared with footy fans.
  • 50 star players from all AFL clubs across Australia will be selected based on their profile and influence, to become Telstra Ambassadors. The 50 players will appear throughout the year at new, local Telstra store openings and participate in community events, such as coaching clinics, and exclusive meet and greet opportunities with fans.

We’ll work closely with the AFL, AFL Players’ Association and AFL players to create engaging social media content for fans and exclusive moments for Telstra customers to connect with their AFL heroes in the virtual, and real world.

We already play a big role in bringing Australians closer to the game through the AFL Live Official App. This new agreement takes our involvement and commitment to the AFL to a new level.

We want to open a new door to give our customers the chance to get to know the personalities involved in our great game so they can build deeper connections with their favourite players, and understand and experience the hard work, dedication and fun these incredible athletes have in their lives on and off the field.

Telstra’s close and successful partnership with the AFL since 2002 has seen the creation of the AFL Live Official App, which has grown to become Australia’s leading digital sports app and the Telstra Media AFL Digital Network.

According to the latest April 2018 Nielsen Digital Ratings, the AFL Network has set a new record for unique audience (UA) reach. The network audience is up 11 per cent on March 2018 to 4.24 million UAs. April’s result is also up 4 per cent on the 2017 season and 2 per cent greater than the previous record set back in August 2017.

Driving this growth is the AFL Live Official App, while the AFL Club Network also had a great month and continues to drive growth. The AFL Live Official App for Apple and Android devices maintains the #1 sports app ranking and overall, Telstra Media AFL Digital Network maintains the #1 ranked sports entity in Australia.

L to R: Paul Marsh, CEO AFL Players’ Association; Joe Pollard, Group Executive Media and Chief Marketing Officer, Telstra; Gill McLachlan, CEO AFL; Sam Docherty, Carlton player and Vice President AFL Players’ Association.

Tags: AFL, sport,

Talking footy, with Amazon Alexa’s new AFL skill


Posted on April 12, 2018

3 min read

When you’re watching your footy team play, it’s often hard to look away.

Hands-free speakers let you turn your home into an automated, voice-activated hub, and with the launch of our new Alexa AFL skill, now you don’t have to look away to get deeper information about your favourite team, players or the game you love.

Alexa is Amazon’s voice service and the brain behind millions of devices like the Amazon Echo.  Alexa provides capabilities, or skills, that enable you to create a more personalised voice experience.

The Amazon Alexa Skill API allows third party partners (like Telstra and the AFL) to build voice experiences that tap into the power of Alexa. These experiences are called “Alexa skills”, skills essentially enable Amazon’s voice assistant to connect to hardware and software to perform certain tasks.

To launch the AFL skill, once enabled on the device, it is as simple as asking, “Alexa, ask AFL who the Hawks play next?” or “Alexa, ask AFL who’s on top of the ladder?”. 

You can then ask Alexa a range of questions about your team and the AFL. For example, ask “when are the Bombers and the Tigers playing next?” and it will respond with specific details like, “Bombers are playing Tigers at 7:25 pm on 2 June in round 11 at Docklands Stadium.”

The AFL skill is currently active with information about:

  • 2018 fixtures
  • The AFL Ladder
  • Historical scores; and
  • Latest news.

Some of the new functionality being developed also includes live stats like:

  • Player rating,
  • Goals,
  • Disposals; and
  • AFL Fantasy points.

The cool part about this is the fact that fans can be watching the game at home, and ask the Alexa skill, “How many goals has Buddy Franklin kicked?”, or “How many disposals has Dustin Martin had?” and the device will be able to answer these questions in real time.

We are also constantly adding new terminology like common nicknames for players so fans can ask colloquial questions like:

“How many tackles has Dusty had?”

“How many kicks has Hodgey had?”

“How many Fantasy points does Nic Nat have this round?”

Fans can also stay up-to-date on their favorite club’s news by enabling one of the Flash Briefing Skills. Each AFL club has a skill, and once enabled, Alexa will play updated news headlines when you ask, “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing” or “Alexa, what’s in the news?”

But it doesn’t stop there. What’s really exciting is that along with Alexa’s answer, the device can now offer follow up questions like, “do you want to know the score when these teams last played?”

This two-way conversation with AFL fans opens up some amazing opportunities and truly puts us at the edge of how technology is evolving in the home with voice control here in Australia.

When tech and AFL come together it’s a fanatic’s fantasy


Posted on March 22, 2018

3 min read

While footy has been back on our screens for a few weeks now with the AFLW competition, as the clock ticks towards round one of the men’s, AFL Fantasy fans are getting ready to compete in the ultimate test of footy knowledge and skill.

And at Telstra – where we build the Official AFL Fantasy App – we’ve also been busy creating another product for those fanatical fans, the ones who spend a big chunk of the week analysing player stats and performance metrics.

AFL Stats Pro is a brand new stats and video based product that allows you to discover, compare and watch highlights of your favourite AFL players to give you an edge in your tips or in your AFL Fantasy team (plus even more for Telstra customers)!

Just as AFL Fantasy pits mate against mate, AFL Stats Pro can pit player against player based on the most comprehensive range of metrics available yet. Allowing you to compare statistics of players head-to-head – or up to five players if you’re a Telstra mobile customer.

And for Telstra customers, you can watch every player’s video highlights, choosing between a shortened highlights package, or a longer version with every player interaction from a match.

Taking a fan-first approach, design thinking was front and centre in the product build and we began by carrying out user research amongst AFL fans to gauge their appetite for a stats and video product.

Go pro with your AFL Fantasy, on the go

The Official 2018 AFL Fantasy App has been redesigned for 2018. We’ve built the new version of the app to highlight simplicity, and give fans the chance to stay across all their fantasy movements on the go.

Within the app you can do all of the following and more:

• Register to play both Classic and Draft on the one account.
• Setup and manage your team (This update includes live drafting and draft team management in the app).
• Create and join leagues and invite your mates to play.
• Follow your team on the go with live up-to-date scores for every game.

For AFL Fantasy Draft we have improved the user journey to make it simpler and more intuitive in 2018. We have built new draft screens to improve the process and included all the stats and information that you need to make those crunch-time decisions.

Download the app now in the App Store or Play Store for your chance to WIN great prizes and take on your mates.

2018 AFL Fantasy classic promotion permit numbers:
– NSW: LTPS/18/21305
– ACT: TP 18/00052
– SA: T18/43

Zero touch activation is here, just in time for AFLX


Posted on February 15, 2018

3 min read

When the inaugural AFLX Tournament kicks off this Thursday 15 February, Telstra customers can stream all the action live, fast and data-free via the Official AFL Live App – with no sign-up needed. Fans will also be able to watch replays in full via the Telstra TV AFL App.

The 2018 AFXL Tournament is a new version of Australian Football designed to take the traditional game from oval grounds to rectangular fields, in a shortened format, with seven players on the field and three on the bench.

There will be three tournaments across three days in three cities (Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney) providing a great way to introduce the game to fans, and especially to those who haven’t experienced AFL before.

Each AFLX tournament match consists of two ten-minute halves with no time on and with a three-minute half time break. There will be a five minute break in between each of the six AFLX pool matches and a ten-minute break leading into the Grand Final.

The X in AFLX relates to the Roman numeral character for the number 10 – which is a constant throughout the alternative version of the game.

Here’s all the rules of the new AFLX tournament explained.

A new, fast short-format game perfect for live streaming

Live streaming the AFLX Tournament on mobile with the Official AFL Live App.

We’re using our technology to help bring this new game to people on the go.

The short-format of the AFLX tournament, with 10 minute quarters or halves, is great for viewing from your mobile device, keeping you across all the action as it unfolds across the three-day tournament.

The app will also link through to the AFLX tournament hub with rolling match coverage available through articles and live blogs.

View the full fixture of each AFLX tournament.

Zero touch activation is here

Ahead of the AFLX tournament we have also just launched Zero Touch activation for our AFL Live Pass customers.

It’s only appropriate for the fastest format of the game, we now have the fastest format of authentication for Telstra’s customers, who can watch the AFLX tournament live, fast and data-free.

Zero Touch recognises when a current Telstra customer downloads or renews their Live Pass app, and automatically authenticates the user – meaning you literally don’t have to do (or touch) anything once you’ve launched the app.

Telstra Zero Touch Activation - AFLX Tournament - Official AFL Live App
The new congratulations page customers will see following automatic authentication.

We’ll be rolling Zero Touch Activation out across our other sporting apps in time for their season launches in the coming weeks.

And if you don’t yet know if you love the AFLX tournament, check it out via the AFL Live Pass app at the App Store or the Google Play Store from today and find out for yourself.

Score your AFL Live pass and find out more about Telstra’s AFL, AFLW, NRL and Netball apps.

Fans go mobile with record-breaking opening rounds


Posted on March 22, 2017

3 min read

We told you it would be a bumper year for sport, and the opening rounds of the NRL have us off to a flying start.

Rain, hail or shine, our data tells us that fans are watching even more live footy than ever before, and Telstra mobile customers are making the most of their AFL and NRL live pass. More mobile customers redeemed their Telstra Live pass in the first two rounds of the NRL than in the entire 2016 season.

The big moments from NRL Round 1-3:

Round 1 – The Queensland Cowboys and Canberra Raiders saw us achieve a record number (over 64k) of unique viewers for a match.

Round 2 – We saw a 75% increase in the total minutes streamed during round 2 NRL when compared to same time last year.

Round 3 – The Dragons versus Sharks home game at Shark Park delivered the peak number of unique live streams for the round (56,069) and the third highest of all time.

What’s new on the AFL Live app:

The relentless pursuit for brilliant fan experiences sees us release a new set of features to the AFL app just in time for the season start on Thursday. We know that fans weren’t happy about the reduced screen size for tablets, so we have listened to feedback and created more stats and analytics that are accessible during the live game.

My personal favourite is the heat map which allows me to see where any of the players have picked up positions on the field during a game – it’s a great visual representation that you can’t get anywhere else, and it is exclusive to Live pass subscribers.

What’s next?

We will continue to enhance the user experience in the app throughout the season by further simplifying the activation process for Telstra customers. We’re also in the process of developing exciting new features that will be exclusive to Telstra mobile customers – stay tuned for more!

What is the NRL Live Pass?

  • Every 2017 NRL game live and data-free
  • In-game scoring highlights
  • On-demand full Telstra Premiership game replays from 2013 onwards
  • Live press conferences and other exclusive content

What is the AFL Live Pass?

  • Every match live and data-free during the 2017 Toyota AFL Premiership Season
  • On-demand full match replays from 2010 onwards
  • 24/7 AFL.TV
  • Special coverage of key events including the 2017 Charles Brownlow Medal, All Australian, NAB AFL Draft, NAB AFL Under 18 Championships and more
  • Coach Stats – see what the coaches see: live interchanges, time in possession, live goal chart and player heat maps

How do I get the AFL and NRL Live Pass?

  • If you are a Telstra mobile customer, access to the AFL and NRL Live Pass is included in your mobile plan. Simply download the AFL Live Official App and NRL Official App and follow the prompts.
  • A subscription to the premium content is available to all fans. Subscription prices for the AFL Live Official App and NRL Live App will increase from 28 March 2017. To secure the 2016 prices now, visit the app store for iOS or Google Play store for Android.

Tags: AFL, NRL, sport,