“This is a win for football fans and an opportunity for us to showcase our game on a commercial network with a recent history of successful covering major sport” – David Gallop
After months of anticipation Network Ten has been announced as the Free to Air ‘partner’ of the next two Hyundai A-League seasons. Yesterday’s announcement cemented the world’s biggest game on commercial television in Australia for the next two years and could lead to a much wider following of our game.
The biggest selling point for football fans across the nation will be the fact that quality of games will be far superior from last year’s sometimes farcical Friday night clashes, where even the most ardent fans struggled to remain tuned into the SBS Viceland coverage. Saturday night will supply the biggest games of the season, including the Melbourne and Sydney derbies. More interest will be created by the bigger games and this should translate into more people watching the game.
Network Ten have a great history of covering sport well (motorsport, Big Bash) as Mr Gallop alluded to but essentially will have very little or no involvement in the coverage. One (A Subsidiary of Network Ten) will simulcast the coverage directly from Fox Sports, giving households the chance watch the professional and well polished coverage. Essentially giving Foxtel a two hour commercial in an attempt to build subscribers via their established A-League coverage. Similar to the deal SBS struck with Optus Sport with the English Premier League without the exchange of FIFA World Cup games.
Network Ten are paying a reported $2 million per season for the privilege to simulcast the coverage; virtually giving the coverage away on the proviso Foxtel will increase their own audience and bucking the current downward trend in television subscriptions across the country. The deal works for both parties with Network Ten avoiding the large production costs association with broadcasting live sport.
Network Ten also presents an opportunity for cross promotion with some of their better known personalities already fans of the game, just keep George Calombaris away from the Sydney FC fans.
At this point in time the deal is probably the best any A-League fan could hope for with the game wilting under the current administration. Fans will have to live with the fact the game will be shown on another secondary channel and be prepared to get their wallets out if they want to watch more than 90 minutes of coverage per weekend.
Going forward the FFA must investigate a ‘League Pass’ or similar but the vicelike grip that Fox Sports has in regards to broadcasting rights I cannot see this happening in the near future. The latest deal is a step forward for our game with the Saturday night game broadcast into households but it does strengthen the position of Fox Sports in relation to football in Australia.
As fans we must embrace this new two year deal if the game is to go forward. In the last few weeks we’ve even started to attack our own when it comes to covering the world game.
If the A-League is to achieve any type of success in Australia is must do this with the majority of fans on the same page. Strength in numbers is the way forward, and we all must play our part.Google+