A-League football moves to Channel Ten under new deal

Benjamin Conkey Editor

By , Benjamin Conkey is a Roar Editor

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    The A-League will be screened on mainstream commercial free-to-air television for the first time after Channel Ten secured a deal to show select games for the next two years.

    Football Federation Australia had a tender process to find a free-to-air partner after Fox Sports had signed on to continue broadcasting all A-League games.

    Channel Ten will simulcast the Fox Sports broadcast each Saturday night which includes use of the commentary team.

    As well as the regular Saturday games, Channel Ten will also broadcast all finals and will also have coverage of Socceroo friendlies.

    The network will initially use its ONE channel but that could change depending on the number of viewers tuning in.

    “We’ve been talking to the FFA for quite some time because we believe the A-League needs to be on free-to-air, and people need to be able to find it,” Ten CEO Paul Anderson told the Daily Telegraph.

    By using the simulcast model Foxtel will be able to promote their coverage to a wider audience and ultimately boost subscription sales.

    The loss of the A-League rights is a blow for SBS which also saw a major reduction to its cycling coverage this year due to circumstances beyond its control.

    As well as the main broadcast, football fans will also be able to watch the Saturday night fixtures on the run with Ten Play to screen the matches alongside the current Foxtel Go option.

    At one stage Channel Seven and the ABC were believed to be contention for the rights.

    It’s not known if ABC’s heavily criticised coverage of the Liverpool vs Sydney FC exhibition played a part in swaying the deal, however, the ABC not being able to broadcast advertisements would also have been an issue.

    In the wake of the ABC football flop, Channel Ten has already gone on the front foot about its coverage explaining that it plans to give football ‘the respect it deserves.’

    “We want to give it a regular timeslot, and give it the chance to grow. We can promote it through our news bulletins, through programs like The Project,” Anderson said.