A-League expansion rests on TV talks

Damien De Bohun, head of Australia’s A-League, has said that a potential expansion of the top-tier football club competition hinges on the backing of the league's broadcast partners. 

The A-League is currently a 10-team competition but organiser the Football Federation of Australia wants to expand the competition to 12 teams.

Australian public-service broadcaster SBS and domestic pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports hold rights in the country to the competition until the end of the 2016-17.

De Bohun said that any potential expansion largely hinges on the success of the 2014-15 season as well as the support from broadcast partners. The FFA will begin talks at the end of the year with both broadcasters and other interested parties over funding a 12-team competition involving six televised matched per week. Under the current 10-team structure, five games per week are broadcast.

“This is a critical year," De Bohun said at Fox Sports’ A-League launch. “We're expecting continued growth, we're pushing forward into the mainstream, which is very important. We've got a very clear commitment until 2017 with our current broadcast rights. It is really important to have that stability and the continuity but at the same time, in the coming months we will have discussions about future broadcasts. 

“Fox Sports have been incredible partners of the A-League and obviously SBS 1 broadcasting this year, too. As we sit down with broadcasters like them and potentially others, we'll start to assess whether an additional two teams and one more game per week will be valuable in a commercial sense and if it is, we'll look at it seriously.”