Foxtel signs record A-League deal with FFA and free-to-air deal also on its way

Foxtel has signed a $346m deal with Football Federation Australia for the Hyundai A-League, more than doubling the like-for-like value of the current broadcast contract over the next six years.a-league-soccer-hyundaiThe deal, which came together quickly over the course of the past week, guarantees Foxtel’s hold on the domestic league a year after being blindsided by Optus for the rights to the English Premier League little more than a year ago.

Fox Sports’ hold on the FFA rights includes the A-League, Socceroos, Matildas, W-League and FFA Cup matches, but will not include Socceroos World Cup Qualifying matches, the Asian Cup and Asian Champions League.

In a crucial step for the game, the commercial TV rights have been held over, with plans for a prime time Saturday night match to be broadcast on commercial TV from a next year.

The FFA is hoping to realise as much as $70m from the commercial rights.

The new deal comes into effect from July 2017 and also gives Foxtel the digital rights to the league, clearing the way for it to be streamed on its Foxtel Go digital platform.

Peter Tonagh:

Peter Tonagh: Foxtel has “doubled its investment”

Foxtel CEO, Peter Tonagh, said that the new deal showed Foxtel’s support for the sport as it prepared for continued growth, including the addition of two teams expected from 2018.

“This doubling of our investment provides the long term support to further grow the game at both an elite and grassroots level,” Tonagh said.

“We strongly believe in football and know our customers share the passion and love for the game as  we do.”

FFA chairman Stephen Lowy said the six-year-term of the deal gave the sport the confidence to move forward with its plans for continued growth in the region.

“Since the transformation of our game began back in 2003, the change in football has been remarkable,” Lowy said.

“Football has always been the ‘world game’ but it is now also entrenched as a mainstream Australian sport, with deep connections to Asia, the fastest-growing region in the world.

“Our game has never seen a deal of this magnitude before. This six-year agreement gives us the certainty to continue to implement our strategy to grow the Hyundai A-League and the Westfield W-League and invest more in grassroots football development and the women’s game.”

David Gallop says FFA will invest money in marquee talent

David Gallop says FFA will invest money in marquee talent

FFA CEO, David Gallop, said the impact of the deal would be felt at every level of the sport, with $3m made available each season to lure more marquee players of the likes of Tim Cahill – who has served as a centrepiece of the sports marketing this season.

“We have seen the enormous impact that our current marketing and marquee player strategies are having,” Gallop said.

“This year TV audiences, crowds and club memberships are all up and it is our intention to re-double our efforts in these areas under the new deal.”

While the FFA has announced that a prime-time free-to-air game on Saturday nights will be a feature of the new deal, fans will have to wait until the commercial network battle over the Big Bash League rights is finalised before learning who will bid for the FFA game.

A commercial network deal is seen as crucial to broadening the casual audience of the sport, with those close to the discussions telling Mumbrella that the “SBS” option is not a solution.

The FFA is keen to get the marketing clout of either Seven Nine or Ten to help convert grassroots participation levels into audiences that will in turn become attractive to sponsors.


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