FFA signs off on new domestic rights deal

Football Federation Australia has signed a new long-term domestic rights partnership with pay-television broadcasters Fox Sports and Foxtel.

The six-year agreement will cover the 2017-18 to 2022-23 seasons. The new deal commences on July 1 and will generate Aus$346m (€241m/$251m), a figure FFA said represents more than double the current arrangement on a like-for-like basis.

Under the agreement, Fox Sports and Foxtel will continue to broadcast all top-tier A-League games, as well as men’s and women’s national team matches, the W-League women’s league and the FFA Cup knockout club competition. Coverage will be shown on the Foxtel TV, Foxtel Go and Foxtel Play services.

The agreement excludes the rights to the final round of World Cup qualifying matches, and the Asian Football Confederation’s Asian Cup and Champions League tournaments. Rights to these competitions are controlled by the AFC and are separately owned by Fox Sports and Foxtel.

FFA chief executive David Gallop said that Aus$3m per season would be allocated to attract marquee players to the A-League following the signing of the lucrative new deal.

FFA chairman Steven Lowy said: “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.”

FFA also confirmed that, for the first time, an A-League game would be shown live on free-to-air television in the primetime Saturday night slot as part of a separate deal that will be negotiated in the new year.

It is believed that a free-to-air deal will not be settled until Cricket Australia concludes its set of rights for the Big Bash League Twenty20 competition early next year. Radio and international rights deals will also be announced by FFA in the first half of 2017.

Fox Sports and public-service broadcaster SBS are currently engaged in four-year deals with FFA, running from 2013-14 to 2016-17, worth Aus$160m. The rights encompass the A-League, along with the Australian national team and the AFC Asian Cup.