ABC and Fox Sports set to share Asia Cup 2015 rights

Asian CupPublic broadcaster the ABC and pay-TV operator Fox Sports have confirmed they have secured the rights to broadcast the biggest football tournament ever staged in Australia, the Asia Cup, in early 2015.

The move will see the broadcasters share broadcast rights for the event, with Fox Sports broadcasting all of the games live and the ABC broadcasting a nightly highlights show at 10pm along with the live rights to the friendly match between Japan versus Australia on November 18.

The deal comes after The Weekend Australian suggested that the ABC and SBS became engaged in a bidding war over the rights. However, sources close to the deal said the original SBS bid, reported to be $700,000, was “laughable” and on this basis the Football Federation of Australia approached the ABC who made a more commercially realistic offer, thought to be around $1.2m.

Mumbrella also understands that from the outset that the ABC made clear it would not be involved in a bidding process with SBS. Both the ABC and SBS declined to comment on the negotiations however an ABC spokesman said the deal meant: “The ABC will televise Socceroos group matches on delay on ABC TV, along with live finals games if the Socceroos get through.”

In a statement ABC director of television Richard Finlayson also said the ABC was pleased to be working with News Corp-owned Fox Sports on the event.

“We felt strongly that this significant sporting and cultural event should be made available to all Australians, and with additional support from the FFA, we were able to work out a deal with Fox Sports to release some key games,” said Finlayson.

Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany said the deal between the pair would boost the growing profile of the sport amongst the broader Australian public.

“We have been a huge supporter and partner of football in Australia for the past 10 years and as the momentum of football has grown, we made a decision in good faith to allow the ABC to broadcast parts of the Asian Cup this summer,” said Delany. “We agree that opening this monumental event to a new audience is something of value to all parties involved.”

FFA CEO David Gallop said the event was set to expand the public awareness of the sport in Australia dramatically.

“The stature of the event has been recognised by the Federal, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and ACT Governments who have generously supported the event. To have a multi-platform, subscription and free to air broadcast partnership gives all Australians the chance to watch the Socceroos as they strive to achieve the mantle of Asia’s best football team,” said Gallop.

“The FFA has strong relationships with a number of broadcasters and in this case the ABC wasuniquely positioned, across TV, Radio and Online to join with us and Fox Sports in bringing the AFC Asian Cup to as many Australians as possible.”

Nic Christensen 


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