The AFL is expected to sign off on an adjusted pay deal for the 2018 AFLW season next month, which will see players earn an estimated 20 per cent on top of their current salaries.
However, it isn’t a pay rise as such, as was hoped for after the AFLW captured the hearts of fans across the country and, most importantly, put cash in the pockets of TV broadcasters.
Rather, it is an adjustment to better reflect the time and effort players are truly spending at clubs during the AFLW season.
Players were contracted for only nine contact hours with their respective clubs in 2017; however, player feedback suggests all exceeded that number, and many nearly doubled it.
As such, the AFL Player’s Association – of which Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce is a director on the board – approached the league earlier this year to adjust the contracted hours, and pay the players accordingly.
It’s expected the paid hours will increase to between 12 and 14, along with an extra 20 per cent salary to each of the three pay tiers.
At 20 per cent, the bottom pay tier – which the vast majority of players find themselves in – would increase from $8,500 to $10,200, the middle tier from $12,000 to $14,400, and marquee players from $17,000 to $20,400 plus $10,000 for marketing and ambassadorial work.
That $10,000 figure for marquee players is also set to be adjusted.
More money for the players is obviously a positive, but the players will actually receive less money per contracted training hour in 2018.
A 20 per cent pay raise for a minimum increased weekly training workload of 30 per cent just does not match.
However, because players were already spending significantly more time at clubs than their contracts required in 2017 – and probably still will in 2018 – the new deal will feel like a pay raise in a way.
It’s not exactly the wage jump many fans of the AFLW wanted – and expected – to see after season one, but it’s a sign of good faith from the AFL.
The league and its players signed off on a two-year collective bargaining agreement that would span across the 2017 and 2018 AFLW seasons, during which the players would receive a minuscule pay raise in the second year.
By all means, the league could save itself some pocket money and not acknowledge the players’ hard work with more accurate compensation, and be well within its contractual rights to do so.
Thanks to the hard work of the AFLPA and the AFL’s compliance, this adjustment to player salaries will hopefully be a sign of better things to come.
The league is expected to work a television broadcast rights deal prior to the 2019 AFLW season that Girls Play Footy speculates could be worth upwards of $10 million per season.
Though it was hoped a deal would be reached for 2018, it’s understandable that the league would wait until the competition expands in 2019 and sign a deal spanning at least two years, when it’s expected more expansion teams will be introduced.
As it is, the Seven Network and Fox Sports receive the rights for free and are only required to cover the production costs, meaning they make a rather pretty penny from advertisements.
Once a TV deal is penned, players can expect their salaries to jump up significantly.