Fox Sports announced last night it has struck a deal with Football Federation Australia to live simulcast its coverage of Saturday night A-League matches – and all finals matches – on Ten’s ‘One’ channel.
Ten will also broadcast Socceroos games once the current World Cup qualifying cycle has ended, as part of the agreement that includes streaming rights.
It essentially means FFA failed to sell the FTA rights directly to a major commercial network, and they have subsequently reverted to Fox Sports under its six-year, $346 million deal to broadcast all games.
Fox Sports would then have on-sold the FTA rights to Ten in a deal likely to be worth significantly less cash for FFA than what incumbent FTA partner SBS has been paying.
Regardless, FFA chief executive David Gallop described it as a “win for football fans and an opportunity for us to showcase our game on a commercial network with a recent history of successfully covering major sport”.
Fox Sports chief Patrick Delany said the deal – reported to be for two years – was a “great result for football fans” while Network Ten chief executive officer Paul Anderson was proud to come on board.
“We will provide a consistent timeslot on One for 30 weeks of the year, promoting the Hyundai A-League and its best game each week to all of Australia,” Anderson said.
The new relationship will end FFA’s deal with SBS, which fell well short of expectations to lift the game’s profile in Australia and take it to a network that has enjoyed raging success through its Big Bash League coverage.
It comes after the ABC was heavily criticised last week over its disastrous coverage of Sydney FC’s friendly with Liverpool.
While the national broadcaster had not been the frontrunner to win the A-League rights it’s understood its attempts at a comedic approach to the coverage ruled it out of calculations.
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