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FFA set to seal fresh A-League rights deal

Football Federation Australia is closing in on a new rights deal for top-tier domestic competition the A-League with pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports set to extend its contract, according to multiple reports.

The Fairfax Media news agency said FFA has agreed terms with Fox Sports on a fresh four-season deal running from 2017-18 to 2020-21 that will be worth up to A$55m (€38.35m/$41.1m) per season. However, the governing body is understood to have yet to strike agreements for free-to-air and overseas rights.

Fairfax said the deal ensures Fox Sports will broadcast all games live with the showcase Saturday night fixture to also be televised on a FTA network. However, it is believed that a FTA deal will not be settled until Cricket Australia concludes its next set of rights for the Big Bash League Twenty20 competition early next year.

FFA last month issued tender documents for the next set of broadcast rights to the A-League. Fox Sports and public-service broadcaster SBS are currently engaged in four-year deals with FFA, running from 2013-14 to 2016-17, worth A$160m. The rights encompass the A-League, along with the Australian national team and the Asian Football Confederation’s Asian Cup tournament.

FFA has previously indicated that it is hoping to double its annual rights income for the A-League to A$80m in the next cycle. Fox Sports currently holds a ‘last rights’ clause in its contract which enables it to match any offers FFA receives from other parties.

Rights to Australia’s friendly internationals will be sold separately in the next cycle. FFA’s new agreement with Fox Sports will reportedly be confirmed as early as tomorrow (Tuesday).