Eddie McGuire says he is “embarrassed” to be put at the centre of a groundbreaking $10 million TV deal featuring some of the biggest stars in the AFL.
The media mogul’s television production company was on Tuesday reported to have agreed to terms with global streaming giant Amazon Prime to produce a series of documentaries surrounding footy stars.
According to The Age, McGuire’s Jam TV company, former producers of The Footy Show, will produce six documentaries following six of the AFL’s biggest stars, including Lance Franklin and Dustin Martin.
Reporter Sam McClure on Tuesday said Sydney, GWS, Richmond, Carlton, West Coast, Gold Coast and GWS are all interested in being involved while Port Adelaide and Geelong are also considering their interest.
Collingwood president McGuire’s own club, however, has reportedly turned down the offer.
The Fox Footy presenter responded to the report on Tuesday by refusing to confirm if the deal has been struck for the documentary series to be streamed on Amazon Prime in Australia.
“I can’t say anything. It’s not appropriate for me to speak at the moment,” a sheepish McGuire told Triple M’s Hot Breakfast.
“As Jack Dyer said, ‘I’m saying nothing in case I say something’.
“I’m happy for people to write stories. These things, in the early stages, always have some fact and some fiction in there. But it’s not an appropriate time for me to speak.
“Don’t ask me any questions, I’m not going to answer anything.”
He said he was “embarrassed” to see a photo of himself and Swans star Franklin on the back page of a Melbourne newspaper on Tuesday morning, declaring AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan is the man at the centre of the discussions.
“I’m embarrassed about that photo of me on the back page because Gil McLachlan’s photo should be there. It’s an AFL deal,” he said.
McClure told 3AW’s Sports Day the documentaries could be streamed on Amazon Prime as early as the end of 2020, or early in 2021.
“The documentaries are about six figures in each club: the senior coach, the president, the CEO, and three players; a senior player, a player in the middle of their career and a player in the beginning of their career,” he said.
“Amazon are also targeting individual stars. They’ve gone after the Sydney Swans because they want the face of that documentary series to be Lance Franklin. They have done the same with the West Coast Eagles and Nic Naitanui and I believe they are having conversations with Richmond and Dustin Martin.”
McClure says the AFL’s flirtations with Amazon Prime are a deliberate attempt to create bidding pressure across the Australian broadcast landscape to drive up the league’s next broadcast deal.
The AFL’s $2.5 billion rights deal expires at the end of the 2022 season.
While Collingwood has reportedly given the concept the cold shoulder, the club’s own 2019 documentary “Side by Side” — which was screened on the ABC last year — was well received across the footy community.