Seven eyes Australian football rights

Australian commercial broadcaster Seven has signalled its interest in acquiring broadcast rights for football in the country.

Football Federation Australia’s rights for the domestic A-League and national team games are currently shared between pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports and public-service broadcaster SBS.

This deal is scheduled to expire in 2017 and Lewis Martin, managing director of Seven, has given a major hint that the broadcaster will seek to enter into talks with FFA, citing the growth of the sport and the popularity of the national team, which won the Asian Cup on home soil in January.

“We're going to be there when the business case supports it but I have to tell you that nothing captivates a nation like the green and gold jersey of the Socceroos,” Martin said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

“For us it comes down to the discipline of the rights being required and the return we can get. We all know about the growth of football in this country and the participation rates.”

The Herald added that FFA is in the early stage of negotiations over a new rights deal. In January, the Australian Financial Review newspaper said FFA was considering curtailing its rights deals with Fox and SBS ahead of schedule.

Under the deals – which run for four years, from 2013-14 to 2016-17 – Fox Sports show all games in the A-League while SBS simulcasts Friday night matches.

The governing body is said to be concerned about low ratings for A-League matches on SBS and believes it could gain more value from a deal with free-to-air commercial networks.