TV rights (and wrongs) in the A-League
I read Adrian Musolino’s article about TV rights with great interest, and it raised in my mind the spectre of our burgeoning A League – and how our next TV rights deal is crucial for its growth.
As the AFL juggernaut is rolled out across the country, and the NRL remains the highest rating sports programs on both free-to-air and Pay TV (according to their head offices somewhat skewed figures), our game lies in a delicate pickle.
Part of the beauty of our game is that it remained relatively unchanged in the past 100 years. Rules are not consistently tweaked and we have not (yet) submitted to the gloabl phenomenon of using TV technology during games.
I am not for one minute suggesting that we go down this path, I believe that the beauty of our game rests in the fact that what we play in the parks with our mates is effectively the same as is what is played at the World Cup.
However the nature of our game (namely 45 minute halves uniterrupted) will always affect our negotiating position in TV rights deals.
Channel Seven has proved in its past how commercial networks treat our game with disdain. If Channel Ten has designs on the A-League, I can just imagine us following Sandra Sully at 11pm, if we are lucky.
We do need free-to-air coverage, and the answer has been staring us in the face for years. SBS was built on our code, and is the only free to air station that will give it a good airing.
The old NSL used to be shown in prime-time on Sunday nights for heavens sake, they would relish the chance to put football in the eyes of the entire population.
Fox does a fantastic job with our game, and together with SBS i am sure that it will help us grow our brand. In conjuction with the Socceroos and World Cups, we can ensure that our game is in the hands of two real ‘football’ stations.
We have done many “wrongs” with our coverage in the past. the next move has to keep us on the path to becoming a solid player in our congested sports market.