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Revealed: Buddy Franklin to profit heavily in later years of mega-deal

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Lance Franklin gets hero's welcome

Sydney Swans recruit Lance Franklin was mobbed by fans outside his new club after he made his first press appearance wearing red and white.

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Lance Franklin is contracted to be paid close to $1.5 million in the eighth year of his ground-breaking nine-year contract, with the superstar forward's payments due to peak in the seventh and eighth seasons.

Fairfax Media has learnt some details of Franklin's unprecedented contract, which sees him paid at the low end in the first two seasons of 2014 and 2015, when he receives about $700,000 a year, but it rises to around $1.2 million in the third season (2016) and remains at about $1.2 million in both years four (2017) and five (2018).

Lance Franklin at the SCG on Wednesday.

Lance Franklin at the SCG on Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Franklin's remuneration then rises further in the sixth, seventh and eighth years, before dropping to roughly $1 million in the ninth and final year, by which stage Franklin will be 36.

The star forward is due $1.3 million in the sixth year (2019), $1.4 million in 2020 and is contracted to get close to $1.5 million - expected to be more than 10 per cent of the salary cap even then - in 2021, when he will be 35.

Overall, Franklin's deal is worth $10.2 million - slightly higher than the $10 million that has been widely reported.


His modest payments of $700,000 in both 2014 and 2015 appear timed to coincide with the hefty payments to Kurt Tippett, who was lured to the Swans on a long-term deal 12 months ago.

Two of Sydney's other highest paid players, Adam Goodes and Ryan O'Keefe, will have almost certainly retired by the third year of the Franklin deal, as it climbs by $500,000 and stays at the level for three years before increasing gradually until the eighth season.

While the drop from year eight to nine is substantial, Franklin's 2022 remuneration of about $1 million will still have him in the upper echelons of the AFL for player payments, even if the total player payments climbs by greater than expected percentages - an outcome that is largely dependent on what the AFL receives in the next broadcasting rights deal.

The most surprising elements of the contract are the amounts due in the sixth and especially the seventh and eighth years, given Franklin's age.

There was erroneous view from the AFL industry that Franklin's deal would peak in the middle years before trailing off dramatically in the last three seasons.

No one knows what proportion of the salary cap Franklin will be eating up in those latter four years, when he will be well past 30 and entitled to $5.2 million over the final four years.

The AFL is considered certain to greatly reduce or scrap the cost of living allowance of almost 10 per cent (roughly a $1 million) that Sydney receives, but Greater Western Sydney is likely to retain its similar cost of living allowance under a different name, such as an expansion allowance, for the coming years.

The AFL has confirmed that the Swans must include Franklin's contract terms in each of the nine years of the contract, irrespective of how long he plays.

The amounts would remain in those particular years even if they paid him a massive lump sum early.

The amounts reported include the additional services agreements - the capped marketing payments that clubs can make to players for appearances and work for sponsors and alike.

13 comments so far

  • 2013 performance was worth no more than 350k. If he improves 100% he may be worth 700k.
    To be worth 1.2 million he would have to kick 12 a game, have thirty kicks, 15 marks, 10 assists, 17 handballs and never go to the bench in 'rotation'. And he would have to give up Tooheys.

    Date and time
    October 10, 2013, 1:45PM
    • Or simply sell a ton of footy jumpers and memberships...

      Date and time
      October 10, 2013, 3:28PM
    • It's more like $2 mil a year - he won't play more than 5 and it's the new bench mark for rorting the system, play for 5 and get paid for 9. Salary cap manipulation at it's finest, sanctioned by the AFL.

      Date and time
      October 10, 2013, 6:17PM
    • Sydney was smart to go for nine years because it means the AFL won't be able to phase out the COLA for nine years minimum. The salary cap has historically doubled every eight years ie 1.25M in 1989, therefore a million in 2023 will be like $500K now. Investment wise I think Buddy would have been better to go to GWS. With more than double the money in the early years he would have been able to better capitalize on the beginning of the property and share market recovery and realize more in the long run. Also I believe he would have earned much more as an AFL ambassador at GWS.

      Nice parting whack to the Hawks from Buddy saying he moved to win more premierships. Pretty lame and insensitive comment that after 2 flags at the Hawks. He should have just said he likes Sydney town and could not refuse a 9 year contract.

      Date and time
      October 12, 2013, 10:28AM
  • Can someone enlighten me? In order to match the Swans' offer for 'Bondi' Franklin, would the Hawks have had to match the total Sydney package, including the Cost Of Living Allowance, or would they just have had to match the component that actually came out of the Swans' salary cap?

    Using the salary details revealed by Jake, that would require $640k in years 1&2, $1m in years 3-5 rising to a maximum $1.36m in year 8 before a final year salary of $900k. Eminently do-able for the Hawks I would have thought. As long as they were not also expected to match the Sydney COLA.

    It raises the question of, how will other clubs entice Free Agents from Sydney? Will the Swans have to exceed any offer by 10%? Or is this just another free bunk-up for the Swans?

    Date and time
    October 10, 2013, 2:16PM
    • No one can really know how Buddy will work out in the long run for Sydney, but this is clearly the biggest player trade "event" since Plugger came here in 1995. Believe me, at the time there were all sorts of doubts about the big fella. But there is no doubt Lockett was a spectacular success. Both onfield and for helping to increase crowd sizes at the SCG substantially. Buddy won't have the same effect because the base is a lot higher. The Swans are already a top 4 team and SCG crowds average around 25,000 to 30,000.
      But even if he can bring in a couple thousand extra people each home game at $30 or $40
      a ticket, and help increase the Swans sponsorship revenue he'll pay for himself. Many long
      term Swans members who spent the 90s watching the likes of Anthony Rocca hightail back
      to Melbourne because they missed their mum's cooking are enjoying seeing gun players
      like Tippett and Buddy wanting to play up here.

      Simon L
      Date and time
      October 10, 2013, 3:14PM
      • how and why would sydney take such a huge gamble and make such a monumental mistike in signing franklin for 9 years when he's 26 yrs old ? his las 2 yrs efforts have not been what his reputation is hyped on. his bad traits are more obvious in the last 2 yrs. gives far too many free kicks away, he cant and does not have confidence to take marks, especially overhead. his goal kicking has gone south and his public life is starting to take to much precedence

        Date and time
        October 10, 2013, 7:17PM
        • Nothing to do with his skill level or whether he's a decent bloke on/off the field. I would say 70-80% would be about his marketability in terms of merchandise, ticket sales and and capturing a new demographic for the Swans. I guess ultimately it doesn't matter if your not the best player on the team, its how your perceived by the fans that determines your value (within reason). If he helps them win a premiership then that's obviously the icing on the cake, but I would imagine he'd be a terrific investment either-way.

          Date and time
          October 11, 2013, 12:53AM
      • Buddy might reckon he'll last til he's 35 but ask Chappy how he feels getting the chop at 32. Clubs decide when players are finished, only a handful of players have the sense to retire before they get the tap on the shoulder. And what's a contract worth? How many last the distance before one partner or the other pulls the pin. A contract is just a bit of paper and you know what that's good for.

        Laurence Mills
        Date and time
        October 10, 2013, 9:14PM
        • A contract is worth whatever the amount on the contract states, taking into consideration any performance based details. Pure and simple. If he plays for Sydney for 9 years is irrelevant.
          Go Hawks.

          Date and time
          October 10, 2013, 11:40PM

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