If any proof was needed that the A-League is now messing with Australian sports Big Boys comes yesterday’s news that the local domestic competition has signed a $346 million deal to show games on Foxtel through to 2023.
The deal was done between Fox Sports and the sport’s governing body Football Federation Australia (FFA). Under the deal, Foxtel will continue to show all A-League games live, plus maintain rights to Socceroos and Matildas (the Australian female team) matches.
However, the final terms of the deal are still unclear as the FFA still hopes to sell a Saturday night A-League match to one of the free-to-air players.
It has been reported that no such deal will be done until a new Big Bash cricket deal is finalised next year. The domestic cricket competition has proven a ratings bonanza for incumbent Ten and who ever wins the rights will have to pay top dollar. Both Ten and Nine have confirmed their interested in the Big Bash, while Seven hasn’t ruled out going after them either.
The FFA has also said the additional broadcast money would be used to bring marquee overseas players to the local league giving the competition international star clout and a boon for sponsors.
Commenting on the new deal, FFA chairman Steven Lowy said that it confirmed that football (soccer) was “now entrenched as a mainstream Australian sport”.
“Our game has never seen a deal of this magnitude before,” Lowy said. “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.”