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ViacomCBS deal sees Socceroos, Matildas, FFA Cup head to Ten & Paramount+

Matches played by Australia’s national football teams, the Socceroos and Matildas, will be shown free-to-air on Ten as part of a free-to-air broadcast deal for Football Australia’s (FA) national teams, lasting through to the end of 2024.

Network Ten parent ViacomCBS has secured the rights to all international matches outside World Cup, including the World Cup qualifiers, and games by Young Socceroos, Westfield Young Matildas, Joeys, and Westfield Junior Matildas, as well as the FFA Cup, and various AFC (The Asian Football Confederation) competitions.

Football Australia said the agreement is the largest Socceroos and Westfield Matildas broadcast deal ever, and comes after the FA acquired the rights to the Asian Football Confederation competitions from the AFC.

L-R: James Johnson (FA), Beverley McGarvey (10), Jarrod Villani (10), Sarah Walsh (FA).

The deal, which commences 1 August, follows ViacomCBS buying the rights to broadcast the A-League from next season across Ten and its forthcoming streaming services Paramount+, which launches locally on 11 August. Reports suggest the deal is worth in the vicinity of $100 million, following a reported $200 million for the A-League.

The split of where games will be broadcast has been partially revealed, with a minimum of 16 Senior National Team matches over the term and the annual FFA Cup Final to be broadcast on Ten. The FFA Cup will be shown from the Round of 32 onwards.

Football Australia CEO, James Johnson, said the deal marked a “new era” for football in Australia. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Network Ten and Paramount+ to the Australian football family. This is an enormous vote of confidence in the future direction of football in Australia including the bold 15-year vision and strategic agenda we have set for the game.

“It is also an endorsement of both the strength in the Westfield Matildas and the Socceroos brands and recognition of the exciting international schedule they face over the next 3.5 years.

“This is a wonderful result for our game and after a challenging 2020, provides our sport with greater financial certainty in the years ahead and will ensure that our fans will be able to continue to watch our Westfield Matildas and Socceroos wherever they are and at the same time, provide a platform to launch a re-invigorated FFA Cup.

“All sections of the community and business have felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this partnership announcement today, along with other commercial announcements recently with Priceline, rebel and Commonwealth Bank, are symbolic cornerstone moments for our sport.”

ViacomCBD and the FA said the deal will bring in significant revenues for football, and also attract major contracted commitments to promote the sport with integration opportunities across the Ten Network.

Ten ViacomCBS will also commission a children’s programme focused on promoting participation in football.

FA head of women’s football, World Cup legacy and inclusion, Sarah Walsh, said: “Through this partnership, we are well placed to elevate Australian football with the unprecedented reach these world-class platforms now offer, which includes the youngest audience for a commercial network (30% of audience under 39) and the most female audience of any commercial network (61%).

“We are focused on anchoring the growth of Australian football through the continued growth of women’s football and our partnership with Ten ViacomCBS, which is committed to the same objective, helps us achieve that. This partnership will play a key role in helping us inspire every young Australian, regardless of their gender, ability or background through our world class Westfield Matildas and Socceroos as the unifying symbols of the game and heroes who epitomise the Australian football identity.”

The rights to 2022 Qatar World Cup remain with SBS despite the broadcaster closing its The World Game brand and the departures of long-serving football staff Lucy Zelic and Nick Stoll.

Meanwhile, the rights to broadcast the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand were recently won by Optus Sport, with the streaming service yet to name a free-to-air partner to broadcast Matildas games and finals during the tournament.

ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand chief content officer and executive vice president, Beverley McGarvey, called the deal a “landmark agreement”.

“We are thrilled to partner with Football Australia and are proud to provide National Teams football and the FFA Cup unprecedented reach and exposure across our many platforms including on Network Ten and our new streaming service Paramount+.

“We will be showcasing all Socceroos, Westfield Matildas and FFA Cup, which not only complements our recently announced rights deal to broadcast every A-League and Westfield W-League match but reinforces our commitment to football in this country.”

ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand chief operating and commercial Officer and executive vice president, Jarrod Villani, added:

“The broad reach and exposure the sport, teams and players will receive, along with the wealth of programming opportunities across all our platforms, including those of our parent company ViacomCBS are unparalleled. But of course, the real winners here are the fans.

“We are looking forward to working with Football Australia and establishing one of the strongest sporting partnerships in the world.”

The deal marks the end of Fox Sports broadcasting national games and the FFA Cup, and with the A-League also to be broadcast away from Fox, sees a 15-year relationship between Fox Sports and Australian football effectively end.

Johnson thanked both Fox Sports for supporting football, and also thanked the new broadcasters. “We thank Network Ten and Paramount+ for backing the game in such a profound way and we look forward to a prosperous partnership where we can connect and engage with the biggest club participation base in Australia, and inspire them with our Westfield Matildas and Socceroos via a unique viewing experience.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the enormous contribution that Patrick Delany and Fox Sports have made to Australian football over the last 15-years. Fox Sport’s commitment, leadership and significant investment has helped evolve our game to where it is today, and for that we will always be grateful.”

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