Why Kayo could help Peter V’landys land knockout blow to AFL in TV cash fight

Comparisons of broadcasting income for Australia’s two top football codes are notoriously difficult to make, especially when sports bosses hide behind “commercial-in-confidence” clauses, the same way politicians quote “national security” when refusing to answer a journalist’s questions.

V’landys won’t say how much the NRL received to extend its deal with Fox Sports until 2027, stressing it would breach its agreement with the News Corp-owned network, but conceded it was more than the 2018-22 payment.

Peter V’landys may have timed his run when it comes to the NRL’s free-to-air TV rights.Credit:Nick Moir

However, the AFL announced on Christmas Eve that it had negotiated a deal with Fox until 2024, with “industry sources” saying the payment for 2023 and 2024 year represented a 25 percent increase and was $150m a year greater in each of these years than the NRL was receiving.

Fox are certainly paying the AFL more than in the previous contract, but Fox are getting more content in return. What the AFL didn’t say is that Telstra, which owns 35 percent of Fox, are cutting back on digital sports rights.

In other words, the AFL is receiving from Fox money formerly paid by Telstra, and Fox is receiving the content which formerly went to Telstra.

Telstra is expected to take a similar line with the NRL. Its contract concludes in 2022 but negotiations are complicated by the telco also having a naming rights deal with the NRL.

However, on an average annual basis, the AFL has done better in its new, two-year extended deal compared to its previous 2017-22 broadcasting contract with Fox, Seven and Telstra – even allowing for the discounts they gave broadcasters for the COVID-19 impacted 2020 season.

Seven paid more for the renegotiated 2020-2024 years, but the big question is whether the debt-burdened network can afford it. “Insiders” estimate that Seven have committed $50m a year more than it can pay and will come knocking on Fox’s door to offload some content.

Fox, also heavily indebted, won’t pay more.

The NRL doesn’t have a free-to-air deal past 2022. It also awarded rights holder, Nine, significant discounts for the 2020-22 seasons. Presumably, Nine used these savings partly to do a deal with rugby league’s historic rival, rugby union.

Rugby Australia concluded a deal late last year with Nine and its streaming arm, Stan Sport, to screen its games.

Furthermore, Stan Sport wasn’t around when V’landys extended his deal with Fox but emerged to offer some competitive tension for Fox’s extension with the AFL.

So, V’landys has been very accommodating to Nine, even making a late change in 2020 at the demand of the broadcaster to speed up the game via a “six-again” rule.

It didn’t lift ratings, which actually declined, but this was largely because Queensland turned off the game when none of its three teams made the top eight.


By contrast, the AFL got lucky with COVID, which locked down Melburnians, forcing them indoors through the 2020 winter where they were treated to a game a night, boosting Seven and Fox ratings.

But V’landys may have timed his run with the sale of free-to-air rights, following the news on Monday that News Corp-owned streaming service Kayo will screen minor sports on to its platform for free.

Could this extend to major sports? Does it mean all of Nine’s current NRL package – State of Origin, three NRL games a week, plus finals- switches over to Kayo?

Fans could click onto Kayo simply by inserting their email address, satisfying the Federal Government’s anti-siphoning legislation.

News Corp would pay a motza to control all of rugby league.

The Telstra/Foxtel announcement late this week, plus the implications of Kayo opening up its service free to “minor” sports, should clear up whether the AFL boast is “complete crap” or, as Cardinal Sin implied, “wonderful manure.”

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Feds cash: Hand-outs or hand-ups?

By ERWIN CHLANDA A simple road can clearly be a very different thing to different people. For Protect Country Alliance spokesperson Dan Robins the Morrison Government $217m handout to the NT yesterday “will yet again subsidise the polluting and expensive fracking industry using public funds with a ‘gas roads’ package”. Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack […]

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Qld celebrity spruiker accused of $225k cash grab

A Queensland celebrity seminar spruiker is being sued after she allegedly failed to repay a friend nearly $225,000 following a failed bid to lure Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon to a speaking event in Brisbane.

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Japan’s households, firms keep piling up cash at record pace as pandemic persists

FILE PHOTO: Women walk past a restaurant at a shopping district in Tokyo, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Japan August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

January 13, 2021

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s currency in circulation and bank deposits rose at a record pace in December, data showed on Wednesday, as a resurgence in coronavirus infections prompted companies and households to continue hoarding cash rather than spending it.

The numbers highlight the challenge the government faces in trying to contain the virus without threatening Japan’s already fragile economic recovery.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce an extension of state of emergency measures beyond Tokyo as early as Wednesday as COVID-19 infections keep rising.

Japan’s M3 money stock – or currency in circulation and deposits at financial institutions – rose 7.63% in December from a year earlier, marking the biggest increase on record, Bank of Japan data showed. The rise slightly exceeded a 7.59% gain in November.

Companies continue to pile up deposits as a precaution against the pandemic, while households are holding off on spending due to uncertainty over the outlook, a BOJ official said at a briefing.

Japan’s economy has been recovering moderately, after suffering its biggest postwar slump in April-June last year due to curbs imposed on economic activity to contain the virus.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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Positive U.S. Pot News Spurs Rush to Raise Cash: Cannabis Weekly

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Jordan, meanwhile, said he previously didn’t expect the MORE Act to be passed until the next administration, but he now thinks it could happen by the end of President-Elect Joe Biden’s four-year term.

Cannabis stocks have surged on the brighter prospects. An industry index rose 16% last week.

Green Thumb Industries Inc., one of the largest U.S. multi-state operators, also sees expansion accelerating as a result of the recent news, Chief Executive Officer Ben Kovler said in a phone interview. With potential access to capital markets coming sooner than expected, Kovler said the company is thinking about refinancing its current $100 million in debt, which carries a 12% interest rate.

“We could create an extra $100 million out of thin air by refinancing at 6%,” he said. This could then be invested back into the business and potentially boost the share price. Staffing up is also on the agenda. “We hired over 1,300 people in 2020, and we’d expect that to be bigger in 2021,” Kovler said.

Green Thumb is also intensifying efforts to register on U.S. exchanges, Kovler said. Companies have largely tapped markets in Canada rather the U.S., where they have been shunned for concerns about legal risks due to federal prohibition. But Kovler said views are changing on this.

“I don’t believe there’s a legal issue that prevents this,” he said. “I think the NYSE and the Nasdaq should list cannabis companies. Otherwise it’s a massive wealth transfer to Canada.”

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Tax cuts gave $8million more cash over summer in spending boost for economy

Eight million workers had an extra $760 in their pocket over the last six months thanks to tax cuts kicking in as part of a plan to encourage spending during the coronavirus pandemic.

New data compiled by the Australian Taxation Office, shows a total of $5.9 billion flowed back to 7.8 million earners nationally through the low- and middle-income tax offset in the six months to January. The offset, also known as the “lamington”, gives these income earners up to $1080 back in their pay over the year.

Tax cuts were one of the major features of the 2020-2021 federal budget.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Households further benefited from $1.1 billion in tax savings over this period due to the stage two tax cuts being brought forward in the federal budget. These changes lifted the top threshold of the 19 per cent tax bracket to $45,000 from $37,000 and increased the 32.5 per cent tax bracket’s top threshold to $120,000 from $90,000.

The 2020-21 federal budget fast-tracked the stage two tax cuts to put money back into the economy as activity dropped during the pandemic due to restrictions, uncertainty and hardship. About 11.6 million people were expected to get a tax cut in 2020-21. Forecasts made in the budget documents at the time said the cuts would boost GDP by $3.5 billion this financial year and $9 billion in 2021-2022.

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Burning Questions: Will Canadians spend their mountain of saved cash to rescue the economy?

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Furthermore, the largesse of the federal government might have helped many Canadians from packing on more debt, but any savings could be used to pay those liabilities down.

CIBC on Dec. 29 released the findings of a survey that found paying down debt was the top financial priority for Canadians for the 11th straight year, at 20 per cent, with “keeping up with bills/getting by” coming a close second, at 18 per cent.

A spending boom driven by savings could also have consequences beyond the immediate gains realized by certain businesses, such as an increase in prices.

Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, likened the increase in disposable income to a “slingshot” that’s being pulled back. Some of that money will be saved and some of it will be spent elsewhere, he said, since travel restrictions remain in place and COVID-19-caused economic uncertainty lingers.

Yet when the world changes, so, too, will people’s spending plans. This could boost some businesses, such as those in the travel industry, but weigh on others that have gained from the stay-at-home trend, like those specializing in home renovations.

“But nonetheless … that slingshot that’s been pulled back, there’s a lot of capacity for continuing to spend into 2021, and even in the year after,” Antunes said in an interview. “As things normalize, people are going to, I think, open their wallets a little bit more.”

The federal government certainly wants Canadians to spend some of their savings, as part of its intention to pump $100 billion in stimulus money over three years into the economy.

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NT Government acquires $1.85 million rural property as cash, land quietly swap hands

The Northern Territory Government brokered a secretive deal that saw a Darwin business walk away with money and land in an attempt to resolve a “particularly tricky” zoning issue.

Land title records show the Government paid $1.85 million for a 2.5-hectare, four-bedroom property in Knuckey Lagoon, an upmarket rural suburb on Darwin’s outer fringes.

The sale was one of three linked transactions on the same day in April this year, with a business called City Homes NT concurrently buying a new parcel of land in a different suburb and the Government gifting the business an adjoining one, rent-free.

At issue was the fact the Knuckey Lagoon property on Stevens Road was being used to run an earthworks business, which neighbours and some local politicians said was an inappropriate activity for the increasingly residential rural area.

But a pre-existing land use right meant industrial work could lawfully be carried out at the site.

The eventual sale came to light earlier this month after the local Country Liberal Party member, Gerard Maley, told a budget estimates hearing in NT Parliament that he had been approached by other landowners concerned about the deal.

“There are more people out there in the rural area [that] are going to be complaining about this, and now this has set a precedent,” Mr Maley said.

“What criteria do they get assessed to get the same treatment as you gave this block owner?”

The property is currently fenced off and padlocked.(ABC News: Jesse Thompson)

The chief executive of the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Andrew Kirkman, told the hearing it was an unusual situation.

“It was a particularly tricky land issue, this one, because it evolved I guess from — as many do — probably a backyard use to something quite industrial in the end,” he said.

“[It] had been industrial use for many decades, in fact, within a rural residential environment.”

Three transactions on same date

The land title records show that on the same day that the Government took ownership of the property from City Homes NT, the same company paid just over $2 million for a 3-hectare former bulk chemicals storage site near the East Arm port.

A third transaction that day shows City Homes NT and the Government entering into a detailed, five-year lease agreement granting the business-owner rent-free access to a 4.28-hectare piece of land adjoining the East Arm site.

The agreement stipulates that if a series of conditions, including compliance with planning schemes and some land works, are met, the land will be granted to City Homes NT at no cost.

An aerial photo of an industrial site in the Darwin suburb of East Arm.
Aaron Budd now runs his business from the industrial site in East Arm.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)

City Homes NT is owned by Aaron Budd, who told the ABC he could not comment on the deal that was struck.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the Government, City Homes NT or the business owner.

Retired independent politician Gerry Wood was the serving local member when the deal was struck and said the land use issue was repeatedly brought to his attention, including through sustained lobbying from a Knuckey Lagoon landowner.

But he said he’d only heard rumours of the deal, prompting him to question the secrecy surrounding it.

A fenced off yard at 35 Stevens Road, with a sign reading 'all visitors must report to office' visible.
Asked if the sale set a precedent for other rural properties, government officials said the situation was unique.(ABC News: Jesse Thompson)

“Considering it was going on for four years and causing locals a lot of concern, I would’ve thought the best thing from a public relationship point of view for the Government was to make sure everything was out there and transparent so everybody was happy with the outcome,” he said.

“The equation of what did it cost the taxpayer — did it cost the taxpayer any more than it should’ve? — is really an issue I would, if I was still the local member, I would be writing to the Auditor-General just to ask for her to do a check on it,” Mr Wood said.

Zoning impasse ‘not ideal’

Mr Kirkman told the estimates hearing the market rate for the land was factored into negotiations.

He said the Government intends to hold the Knuckey Lagoon property for at least 12 months before selling it to recover costs, and emphasised the situation was unique beyond all other examples.

“There are lots of businesses operating on land that perhaps they shouldn’t, that is true, but what’s unique about this case is how long it’s been going for,” he said.

He told the hearing that holding the property for a year before selling would ensure it could not be used for industrial purposes again.

“It wasn’t ideal but it had been ongoing for some time, so effectively what I guess we’re looking to achieve out of this is to have it sit for at least 12 months to enable us to ensure that it’s not used for industrial uses again,” he said.

“At some point, it’ll go on the market to be used as rural-residential, which is in accordance with what the area plan would expect for land in that region and that area.”

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The Great Rethink: Cash is no longer king and the transition is going to be a high-stakes affair

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“It’s actually a geopolitical issue, it’s not just an issue over dollars and cents,” said Campbell, now president of Toronto-based lobbying firm Campbell Strategies Inc., of CBDCs. “This working group of the central banks … is an indication of just how seriously central banks are starting to look at this and, if you will, protect their turf.”

Perhaps with this in mind, Bank of Canada staffers said in a June report that the central bank was looking at “multiple formats” for a digital currency, including the use of a “custom device that is engineered for universal access while securely storing and transferring a CBDC.”

These universal access devices (UAD) “could incorporate attributes of cash and take advantage of specialized technologies,” the report said. Those cash-like features could include making it wallet-sized and allowing for small transactions.

This working group … is an indication of just how seriously central banks are starting to look at this and, if you will, protect their turf

Barry Campbell, former parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance

“They have to be ready in case the necessity arises that they have to provide a digital alternative to cash,” said Thorsten Koeppl, an economics professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

Yet the death of cash is likely years away, if it ever actually happens. In April, for instance, Bank of Canada staffers, working with Ipsos and Statistics Canada, found that 74 per cent of the people they surveyed had no plans to go cashless.

“I think inclusion is something that we really have to continue to monitor, and to make sure that there’s always an opportunity for people who prefer to use cash as tender to be able to purchase the things that they need,” Black, at Payments Canada, said. “I think cash is going to be around for quite some time.”

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Police seize drugs and cash from truck on Eyre Highway at Port Augusta

A truck driver has been arrested after police seized methamphetamine and more than $1.6 million in cash as part of an investigation into drug smuggling across state borders.

SA Police said its organised crime branch had worked closely with counterparts in Western Australia to disrupt cross-border drug trafficking, leading to last week’s arrest.

A 31-year-old Queensland man was charged with trafficking a large commercial quantity of a controlled drug and unlawful possession, after the truck he was driving was pulled over at Port Augusta West last Friday.

His vehicle was stopped on the Eyre Highway, which connects WA with SA.

A search of the vehicle allegedly uncovered cash stashed in a bag, and methamphetamine with an estimated street value of about $3.25 million.

Police said that officers allegedly located the drugs and money hidden in different compartments of the truck. 

Detective Chief Inspector Darren Fielke said cooperation between SA Police and WA Police had been vital to the operation.

“On this occasion SAPOL and WAPOL worked closely together sharing information in a timely manner which has disrupted a group involved in the cross-border trafficking of controlled drugs and has led to the seizure of a significant quantity of money,” he said.

A search of the man also uncovered a substance believed to be methamphetamine and a further $10,000 in cash.

He was refused bail and will appear in the Port Augusta Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Approximately 6.5 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden within the rear of a truck at Port Augusta.(SA Police)

Queensland Police are now assisting the joint operation, and further items of evidence have allegedly been seized. 

Chief Inspector Fielke said information sharing between police across jurisdictions had led to the arrest.

“This success of this investigation highlights the high level of collaboration and information sharing capabilities between South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland Police.

“This collaboration is a strength of law enforcement and is highly effective in targeting organised crime groups who are intent on trafficking drugs and money across state borders.”

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