Free-to-air coverage to revive the A-League?
A-League TV teaser ad - 'WE ARE FOOTBALL' (Image: FFA)
It is essential that Football Federation Australia’s next media rights deal, which is in advanced negations, has a meaningful free-to air component.
Rumours of a five-year, $175 million-plus TV rights deal for Australian football has begun to do the rounds in the Australia media, and let’s hope it comes to fruition.
A partnership between Fox Sports and SBS seems the most logical outcome for the FFA, however some other late suitors may join the party.
While Fox Sports are most certainly going to hold on to the majority of the A-League fixtures, a credible free-to-air component must be included in this latest package.
Free-to-air (FTA) TV is the only way the game will progress into the mainstream media. Free-to-air exposure is the lifeblood of the AFL and NRL and the A-League must follow suit.
Football fans need to get their weekly A-League fix and a FTA component would be the only way to achieve this. FTA television exposes the game on levels previously unseen before, as casual and diehard fans alike will be able to bask in the beauty of our global game.
A weekly game and an extensive highlights package is the least I would hope for as an A-League tragic.
Grassroots football would benefit the most from a FTA component as nationwide exposure of our local heroes would beam across TV sets all across the nation.
Young, aspiring footballers watching their heroes such as Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey, Brett Emerton and Archie Thompson would be exposed to their role models on a weekly basis. We need these shining lights on our screens, so that our next generation Socceroos have aspirations to attain to.
The recent big name signings of Del Piero and Heskey tell me that the clubs have a fair idea a sustainable media deal will arise. This sort of confidence shows that greener pastures are just on the horizon.
It was only a few months ago that the Western Sydney Wanderers were against a marquee player, now they are chasing several lucrative names. It seems the FFA will indeed deliver on its next deal, in turn encouraging other clubs to restore the pursuit of a marquee player.
Ben Buckley, whose tenure has been defined by numerous mistakes, has a chance to make the latest TV deal a parting gift to football fans. The man who generated copious amounts of money for the AFL from ruthless media bargaining must do the same for the FFA; it’s the least he could do for the fans.
David Gallop doesn’t deserve a train wreck; he deserves a platform where the game can take off from. Buckley, it’s time to deliver.
SBS has covered the game soundly over the decade, with intricate knowledge and a ‘fan-first’ mentality that will ensure that their coverage will work. An extensive highlights program and a minimum of one game a week would be indeed invaluable for the football fan. Fingers crossed this is the outcome which arises.
Fox Sports has covered the A-League brilliantly over the past few years, so a bigger budget and more innovations would bring the game to heights we are yet to experience.
Fox Sports has shown faith in the league’s inaugural days, so it deserves to be rewarded for its trust in the game. Let’s hope the FFA and Fox Sports agree to a package that pleases the fans like never before.
With a TV deal nearing its conclusion, Gallop, the new head of the FFA, can focus on memberships and bringing the clubs back to turning a profit. These are essential elements that along with the TV rights that will allow the game to never wilt and go from strength to strength.
The A-League is in a period of transition, which increasingly looks like one of rapid progress and positivity.
This is what we have been waiting for football fans. Remember, we are football.
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