Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley. AAP Image/Paul Miller

Related coverage

Who was the biggest winner out of a day that delivered the NRL a new billion-dollar media deal and Football Federation Australia (FFA) a new CEO, the NRL or the A-League?

The Australian Rugby League Commission sealed the NRL’s new media deal with Channel Nine and Foxtel retaining the rights to show the league and its representative matches for the next five years, in a deal they say is worth at least $1.025 billion.

It’s pretty much status quo in terms of coverage and how it will be divided up between Nine and Fox Sports – Nine with three weekly matches (two on Friday night and one on Sunday plus the odd Thursday night), State of Origin, Tests and City versus Country and Foxtel left with the other five weekly matches across Saturday, Sunday and Monday night.

While the failure to replicate the AFL’s deal with all matches live on Foxtel leaves NRL fans at the mercy of frustrating delays, matching the billion-dollar mark set by the AFL is a psychological win for the NRL considering its national footprint is much smaller compared to the AFL’s and delivers vital funds for the growth of the game.

The size of the deal certainly highlights the strength of State of Origin and the worth of the big viewing figures the NRL attracts in two of three biggest cities in Australia, Sydney and Brisbane.

With the AFL and NRL’s new deals completed, the other, smaller codes with rights up for grabs, including the A-League and V8 Supercars, can now move in the new landscape. And crucially for them, the AFL and NRL have taken residence at just one free-to-air network each.

Both Channel Seven and Channel 10 were reportedly in the mix for the NRL rights but were eventually outbid by the Nine and Fox Sports, that had the vital last bidding rights in the process.

So this leaves two free-to-air networks left with free timeslots and, should they be willing to spend, funds. But the question now is whether they are interested in spending big on what are considered fringe sports.

Channel Seven’s play for the NRL rights, on top of its exclusive free-to-air AFL rights, proves that the financially-strong network is willing to spend heavily to retain its top-rated position.

While its unlikely that Seven is in the mix for the A-League rights given its history with the NSL, missing out on the NRL could make it hungrier and more willing to retain V8 Supercars from 2013.

Channel 10, which lags behind its commercial network rivals in terms of ratings, has been left without one of the major sporting codes. While it hosts international motorpsort (Formula 1 and MotoGP), netball and recently upped its commitment to the NBL (proof it’s looking to fill the void?), delivering live games and a presence on its main channel for the upcoming season, it lacks a big-name football code.

Channel 10 seems the best fit for the A-League, particularly with the ONE channel retaining some sporting content following its recent makeover and with the ability to double-up content on one of the strongest performing secondary digital channels.

It certainly seems more likely than Seven or Nine and is being talked about as the only realistic free-to-air option aside from football’s traditional home, SBS.

But it remains to be seen whether these commercial networks are interested in the A-League, be it one live game a week, delayed coverage or a highlights package on top of the almost certain Fox Sports component of the media rights deal. The bargaining power of Fox Sports could be a key part of the negotiations as it seeks to protect its exclusivity with certain codes – the A-League and Super Rugby being the prime examples.

However, there are a couple of free-to-air openings and it will be telling how the media landscape reacts to the AFL and NRL deals and what bits of the puzzle fall where.

Key to the A-League rights is the divisive figure of former AFL man Ben Buckley, outgoing CEO of the FFA who will be replaced in November by former NRL CEO David Gallop – the other big news of a dramatic day in Australian sport.

Buckley’s legacy could hinge on his last bit of business for the FFA, which will be to finalise negotiations over its media deal with the key requirements being a greater financial return ($300 million over five years the aim) to ease the strain on A-League clubs and deliver a highly-sought after free-to-air component. His role in the AFL’s previous media rights deal in 2005 was seen as a critical factor in his appointment at the FFA, so he must deliver.

Buckley’s six-year FFA tenure has been challenging – failed World Cup bid, failed expansion moves with two regions (Gold Coast and Townsville) tainted by the scars of two failed clubs, A-League clubs struggling financially, fractured relationship between A-League club owners and the FFA, and still no concrete plans to unite the grassroots of the game with the A-League via a cup competition or the like.

Gallop comes to the FFA with far more experience at leading a major code than Buckley, six years after he was targeted to replace former FFA CEO John O’Neill. It certainly highlights how much control FFA chairman Frank Lowy has over the game he runs, having finally wooed his man.

Gallop is undoubtedly a strong leader. He was charged with leading the NRL as it rolled from one scandal to another (not his own doing), skillfully handling the controversies and continuing to grow the game while maintaining a constant presence in the media defending his code.

It was a stark contract to Buckley, whose persona never suited taking a forthright stance in front of the cameras, which only fueled the feeling amongst football fans that he wasn’t passionate about the game.

At times when the code needed him, when, for example, issues such as negative media coverage on crowd trouble and numbers required strong conviction, Buckley’s softly-spoken nature and lax responses didn’t satisfy the demands of being the game’s leader. He never appeared to be on the front-foot defending and spruiking the game, certainly not like the AFL’s Andrew Demetriou or Gallop during his NRL reign.

But Gallop is the third leader in a row to come from a non-football background, and the third to come from another football code. In fact, the FFA has now completed the trinity of leaders from the “big three” footy codes, with rugby league’s Gallop following rugby union’s O’Neill and the AFL’s Buckley.

It’s an ongoing concern that the governing body continues to seek a non-football person to lead the game, perhaps reflecting Lowy’s desire to maintain a professional distance from those who were involved in the game pre-FFA.

Aside from O’Neill, the trio’s dealings in the other codes have been restricted to Australia, with little need to engage with Asia, for example, such a key area of growth for Australian football at club and national level, not to mention the wider global geopolitical world of football.

Even at home it’s a complex beast that lacks the clear pathways and structures of the likes of the NRL and AFL. Football’s grassroots remains disconnected from the top tier, and while some don’t like to admit it, the “old soccer” and “new football” division remains.

How a non-football leader who has been so ingrained in another game’s culture and practices can grasp all this is questionable, particularly considering O’Neill and Buckley’s failure to make significant inroads in these areas.

Think of the major decisions that were made since the A-League’s inception that lacked a football perspective: the delay in expanding to two teams in Melbourne and Sydney, thus delaying proper same-city derbies – the lifeblood of football; the naivety of locking A-League clubs into stadiums that were far too big for the game, thus stifling the match-day atmosphere; and centralising so much of the club’s business dealings, thus making it more difficult for clubs to develop their own unique characteristics.

It’s been a slow process to get the league steered in the right direction. And although he is an undoubtedly talented administrator with a better track record and presence than his predecessor, Gallop must get acquainted with the peculiarities of football quickly.

The NRL could, therefore, have played a key role in the future direction of Australian football; not only training and freeing up a leader the round-ball game desperately needs but also staying put at its free-to-air home and leaving some openings elsewhere.

A billion reasons to smile for the NRL and a few for football fans…

Adrian Musolino
Adrian Musolino

Adrian Musolino is editor of V8X Magazine, and has written as an expert on The Roar since 2008, cementing himself as a key writer who can see the big picture in sport. He freelances on other forms of motorsport, football, cycling and more.

Do you find yourself logged out of The Roar?
We have just switched over to a secure site (https). This means you will need to log-in afresh. If you need help with recovering your password, please get in contact.

This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

Have Your Say

If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

The Crowd Says (97)

  • August 22nd 2012 @ 3:15am
    Steve said | August 22nd 2012 @ 3:15am | ! Report

    I can’t help but thinking that these deals are going to send foxtel and the tv stations broke. How can this amount of money be sustained in such a small market with audiences that are not huge and with liitle room for growth.

    Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • August 22nd 2012 @ 4:06am
      James said | August 22nd 2012 @ 4:06am | ! Report

      If they didnt do the deals they would be broke even more quickly, especially Foxtel.

      • August 22nd 2012 @ 8:13am
        Kasey said | August 22nd 2012 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        Exclusive Sport drives PayTV subscriptions. It’s the same model used across theglobe If there was no. football on Fox, I wouldn’t have it simple as that. I know amongst my AU friends that I’m not the only one that thinks like that.

        **I do really love Setanta though – there always seems to be some sort of football on. Just last night I watched Eredivisie, Blue Square Bet Conference and nPower Championship it 🙂

    • August 22nd 2012 @ 8:06am
      Futbanous said | August 22nd 2012 @ 8:06am | ! Report

      Have to agree Steve. I was suprised by the small viewing figures shown for AFL & NRL for regular matches yesterday in light of the NRL TV deal amount.
      Given the TV deals for Football around the world in countries where its part of the furniture & TV audiences dwarf those I saw yesterday it seems way out of proportion.
      Perhaps somebody with more knowledge than me on these matters can explain the logic & dynamics of paying big dollars for a small viewing audience.
      Surely the FTA channels in particular would get more bang for their bucks by putting on a reality TV show.

      • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:13am
        doozel said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        For the TV networks it is all about market share and ratings. That drives what they are able charge for advertising spots. The rates are predetermined at the beginning of the year so to have “guaranteed” ratings is gold. The networks can charge more for every other show off the back of sports.

        As you may have noticed predicting what is going to be a successful TV show is very difficult. Look at the Sarah Murdoch dance show (axed) and Big Brother (not going to well). TV shows come and go on a weekly basis. Sport ratings are very consistent and they know what they are going to get which is invaluable.

        • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:30am
          nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:30am | ! Report

          Its fascinating to look at the deal from the free and subscription ends. Both have such different markers on what they consider drives up a rights fee. So far it has very much been pay tv pushing the fees up. Its interesting to see what proportion both groups make up for each deal and how it evolves. Both look a little shaky when u strip back the ego and bravado between the two major sports and look at the fundamentals of what these big fees are delivering. Though i doubt there’ll be too much of that beyond the odd finance analyst.

      • Roar Guru

        August 22nd 2012 @ 9:41am
        Fussball ist unser leben said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        I was talking to a bloke, who works in this field.

        He acts as an independent agent for Asia Region for 2 companies that buy TV rights from sport content providers (e.g. La Liga, SerieA, Bundesliga, Euro, etc. etc.) and his job is to onsell these rights to broadcasters in Asian markets, including Australia.

        In his view, the money being paid for AFL & NRL broadcast rights just doesn’t add up. Yes, it’s absolutely fantastic for the content providers (NRL, AFL) , but, based on the ratings figures & advertising revenue, the broadcasters are all going to lose money on the deals.

        In particular, he was staggered by the low number of new Foxtel subscriptions (20k reported in past 6 months) to flow from their massive investment in AFL broadcast rights.

        Additionally, he says Australia is one of the LEAST competitive markets for sporting rights so the “bidding war” isn’t based on rational valuation but on ego of the CEOs of the broadcast companies.

        • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:43am
          Kasey said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:43am | ! Report

          Importantly, roughly what does your bloke expect football to get when its new media deal is signed off on in the next 2 months?

          • Roar Guru

            August 22nd 2012 @ 9:56am
            Fussball ist unser leben said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

            He has not looked at the HAL market at all but, when I last broached the subject, using the AFL deal as his reference he gave a very very rough guess of $50-60m p.a.

            Again, he suggested, it may be possible for HAL to potentially attract up to 20% premium to the higher figure, IF a FTA TV broadcaster decided to go hard for the rights, because it is desperate to secure some sport content to fill a sporting void in its programming schedule (e.g. Ten Network).

            He also admitted his estimates probably undervalued online/digital rights, where the landscape is rapidly evolving & there are few benchmarks to use for comparative valuations.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 1:05pm
              Vic said | August 22nd 2012 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

              Problem is for soccer.

              1. not much in the way of rusted on fans. Very small supporter base as it stands. A-League clubs are only a few years old and Socceroo games are few and far between, some at un-godly hours.
              2. FTA networks won’t bid for the rights, so it might be just SBS and the last time the rights came up, SBS actually wanted to be ‘paid’ to do it.
              3. not enough advertising slots in games being televised. AFL has ads after goals, at 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 times. Soccer just has 1/2 time.

              From reading between the lines, they will get between 20 to 25 million a season for rights.

            • Roar Guru

              August 22nd 2012 @ 1:25pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | August 22nd 2012 @ 1:25pm | ! Report


              I suggest you start reading new lines.

              $20-25mill is what the FFA currently receives for a rights deal that was created after Yr1 of the HAL & the AUS NT matches form the bulk of the value.

              As a starting point, I highly recommend you read this very detailed article by former FFA administrator, Bonita Mersiades:

              In particular, Mersiades forecasts “All-up, the new deal for (FFA) broadcast rights (TV plus digital), is likely be in the vicinity of $60 million per year”.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 4:50pm
              Vic said | August 22nd 2012 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

              Problem is with what your saying is Foxtel will need to be convinced they need to stump up ‘x’ to keep the FFA operational. It is all to do with them being generous. Good luck in this day and age.

            • Roar Guru

              August 22nd 2012 @ 4:58pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | August 22nd 2012 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

              So, Vic .. can you explain why – back in 2006 – Foxtel decided to pay $17-21m/yr for the AUS NT/ & HAL matches?

              Was it purely generosity from the good folk at Foxtel? And, why $17-21m? Why not $1-2m? Heck, why not $100-200? I mean if I’m bidding for something and I know no one else is bidding, I’ll make my first & last bid $1

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 6:17pm
              Vic said | August 22nd 2012 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

              Have to say, I am wondering why they don’t actually just bid $1. The next best offer back then was for SBS to get paid by the FFA to show a game a week.

              The only logic is that I can see in it all is that Lowy and his lackeys were in front of Murdoch and Packer with cap in hand saying, if you want this product to fill some of your scheduling you need to give us say a minimum of this sum of money so we can pay the running costs. Do not see the logic in them just throwing all sorts of funds at something noone else is interested in.

              If you get down to it, it is just a filler product for when the AFL/NRL are in hiatus. Now with the 20/20, Foxtel might turn around and say this is what you are worth, like it or lump it.

            • Roar Guru

              August 22nd 2012 @ 6:25pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | August 22nd 2012 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

              “Have to say, I am wondering why they don’t actually just bid $1.”

              Vic, that confirms what I thought – you have an extremely unsophisticated understanding of the sports broadcast market in Australia.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 8:37pm
              nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

              agreeing with some of your points there Vic …it seems like many rights holders have their magic figure and work back from there. Football and others.

        • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:52am
          nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          Agree with your bloke Fuss…when it comes to tv rights, both the two major sports have the tape measure out as they say… 🙂

          • August 22nd 2012 @ 10:21am
            Futbanous said | August 22nd 2012 @ 10:21am | ! Report

            So sort of like who can keep getting the biggest supply of Viagra?

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 11:00am
              nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              It does have that sense to it…pumped up …from the outside looking in the code war element seems very important to them

        • Roar Guru

          August 22nd 2012 @ 11:21am
          Rellum said | August 22nd 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          From what I have read the networks don’t expect to make money on the football advertising revenue but the ratings boost the football gives it overall ratings pays off with selling advertising space for other shows.

          No idea if that is true though.

          • Roar Guru

            August 22nd 2012 @ 12:16pm
            Fussball ist unser leben said | August 22nd 2012 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            It could just be “sour grapes”, but Don Voelte, the new CEO of Seven West Media, has forecast the Nine Network will lose around $200m over the course of the new NRL contract.

            Voelte said he had “crunched the numbers”, based on Seven’s ad rates and forecast $40m-a-year losses.


            Maybe, Voelte should have quantified the losses the Seven Network is making on its AFL investment?

            • Roar Guru

              August 22nd 2012 @ 5:26pm
              Philip Coates said | August 22nd 2012 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

              Don Volte should go and re-crunch his numbers. The Ch9 part of this deal is worth only $80M per annum (Fox pay $100M). To suggest Ch9 would lose $40M a year on a $80M a year deal is laughable.

          • August 22nd 2012 @ 12:51pm
            Lucan said | August 22nd 2012 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

            Correct, Rellum. The major codes are used by the major networks in a similar way to how a supermarket uses a “loss leader”. Get more people thru the door who, while grabbing the bargain, can expectedly grab items with a more store friendly margin as well.
            Seven and Nine pay “overs” for the AFL/NRL because of the impact it has on the rest of their schedule, and what they can charge for advertising across the board, not just during the two hours of footy.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 12:56pm
              Kasey said | August 22nd 2012 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              That theory has been proven correct in only the last Month.

              Ch9 paid well ‘overs’ for the 2012 Olympics and used it to promote the hell out of its upcoming TV shows – much to our annoyance!

              Sure it lost money covering the Games, but does anybody think they care when they got a 2mil rating figure for Pt1 of Howzat. They’ll be raking it in for ad space during Part 2 this Sunday evening!

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 2:43pm
              Lucan said | August 22nd 2012 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

              Look at Seven with their tennis coverage. It isn’t even ratings season, but they use it as a massive launch pad for their assault on the ratings period.

    • August 22nd 2012 @ 8:41am
      nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 8:41am | ! Report

      I agree also steve….but once the afl had reached their 1bn headline benchmark, the nrl had to match it. Almost as if the syd/bris media camp had to match the melb counterparts. Whether these fees are redeemable who knows. Important though that ratings and audiences are not no 1 in short term, provided they keep their subscriber levels up the sports are paid for regardless of whether the audiences look big on the ratings samples. Foxtel pull big money out of their top tier subscribers who represent a remarkable proportion of their total base. Somewhat risky to assume that will continue given economic conditions. And the general trend toward people wanting ‘their’ content rather than packages that has driven subcription tv in the past.
      Also Foxtel are in the secondary portion of news ltd post split, so if it is overpriced its them and telstra holding the can ….not the important bit of news ltd….so the tele and hun will be very keen to spruik i guess as they are in foxtel’s ‘half’ lol of the company.

  • August 22nd 2012 @ 7:33am
    Midfielder said | August 22nd 2012 @ 7:33am | ! Report

    Like your 300 million media deal figure … hope you are right…

    • August 22nd 2012 @ 8:15am
      Kasey said | August 22nd 2012 @ 8:15am | ! Report

      News Ltd today reporting $40mil/yr,

      IIRC the numbers bandied about here are closer to $60mil/yr. Neither would be a disaster (in that both would cover the salary cap x 10 teams[=$26mil/yr) but obviously we all hope its closer to 60mil than 40mil because so many other things need funding. Infrastructure and grassroots football just to name 2.

      • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:11am
        nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        Well just because a figure covers a salary cap at the bottom end of the projection, it doesnt mean the moolah all has to go the propping up that minimum figure in the wage system. They could in theory allocate the money however they chose club by club, but we dont have that freedom in the club agreements yet. Whatever comes in, they should allow the clubs to tailor their costs a little more to match their revenue. That should include wages. Too many folks work it the wrong way round, wanting the tv deal to match what they want rather than what will be coming in. Sure that works for the commercially top tier sports, not for football imo.

        • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:24am
          Kasey said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          Nord, you’ve already converted me to your line of thinking re the salary cap floor, no need to keep at it mate. 😉

          For the general sporting public though; FFA being able to release a presser saying that the new Media deal completely covers the Salary cap for all 10clubs and therefore “assures the medium-term(2-5yr) future of the A-League” would be an invaluable piece of positive Media.

          Nobody would be able to draw comparisons to the boom-bust cycle of Oz Basketball as often happens when opinion writers are looking for an easy shot on Sockah.

          I’m a big believer in that the best way to combat some of the the cheap digs on football is to put the years on the clock.

          In just 2 years, the FFA will be able to say, we have a stable 10 team competition** that has been stable at 10 teams for 3 years and overall has a 10 year history. We are not going away. We are football and we are here for the long-term. From a solid & stable base we can then think about sustainable growth. Long term I reckon we could sustain up to a 16 team league.

          **and maybe a Cup comp

          • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:37am
            nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:37am | ! Report

            Haha yeah for the benefit of the casual readers then 😉 Good to know im making some headway though! Its possible to be too focused on the effect of being able to say it covers the cap. Cause u do realise the next step to eliminating the floor is the whole damn thing. “Free the shackles” ….But really i dont know if the effect is so great being able to say “the cap is covered” in theory when actually the clubs have so many other costs to juggle around. Though they are juggling with one arm and a foot at this point in time.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:57am
              Kasey said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

              Ultimately in the long term, the FFA must be aiming to operate in completely unrestricted (in terms of squad size and salary spend) for us to grow up into being a “real boy” otherwise how are we supposed to compete on the world stage? That is probably a ‘problem’ for whoever relaces IMO it is a very long way down the track.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 10:03am
              nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 10:03am | ! Report

              I look at the top and bottom end as part of the same need for each club to just trade on a more individual basis. So from a true sustainability standpoint, not so much to compete internationally in the near term …so lay the right base down now which is better for the large, medium and small clubs. Assuming thats an acceptable model for the strayan welfare i mean sporting marketplace.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 10:11am
              Kasey said | August 22nd 2012 @ 10:11am | ! Report

              Of course if the figure IS the $200m over 5 years being bandied about today, the FFA won’t get to set a positive narrative, because the caustic response from football-people (rushing to call it Buckley’s parting failure to the game) will drown out the official press release 🙁

              I think I could accept $200mil/5yrs, its better than the original 130 over 7yrs for 8 clubs in an unproven comp, but rejecting the previous offer of 42mil/yr for 9 clubs will look foolish and will add to the size of the target on his back.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 10:23am
              nordster said | August 22nd 2012 @ 10:23am | ! Report

              I wouldnt place as much emphasis on what buckley can do personally, he’s no wizard. The game will get what it gets based on a bunch of interrelated market factors. His personal pull or whatever strategy being secondary. So people pinging the guy i guess are just pushing their own barrows….

  • August 22nd 2012 @ 8:03am
    chris said | August 22nd 2012 @ 8:03am | ! Report

    If League and AFL had become the all national Football code back in 1933 then I wonder how much would the TV deal be for it.

    • August 22nd 2012 @ 8:39am
      Bondy. said | August 22nd 2012 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      but they arent and wont and cant.

      • August 22nd 2012 @ 8:49am
        Kasey said | August 22nd 2012 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        yes looking backwards is a fools errand.

    • August 22nd 2012 @ 9:44am
      Andyroo said | August 22nd 2012 @ 9:44am | ! Report

      Probably zilch until “Packers world series of Egg ball” as the government would have interfered and stuck it on the ABC or some other such tom foolery.

  • August 22nd 2012 @ 10:16am
    Futbanous said | August 22nd 2012 @ 10:16am | ! Report

    Seems that Fox(regardless of commercial logistics) is becoming the major player in all TV deals. The days of FTA holding the big stick appear to be over?
    Personally and far as money goes & sport I only really care about football & where the money is coming from to grow the sport in Australia in the mainstream.
    So what combination do others(I consider myself a novice in this area) feel is best to acheive this.
    SBS & Foxtel? Cant see this as SBS aint got the moolah to contribute to the deal.
    Channel 10 & Foxtel? Fox fine ,but Channel 10 an unknown quantity?
    Channel 7 & Foxtel? As one who was totaly PO with their previous(C7) coverage I would be suspicious about their ability(or will) to deliver anything but midnight telecasts.
    Channel 9 obviously out of the equation?
    The other question I ask is are we overestimating the impact of TV as a media to grow the game?Where does the Internet come in,given that the audience in Australia is a “Future Audience”.
    After all it doesnt seem to be increasing audiences for other established sporting comps in Australia.” Established” like overseas football leagues is the key for them,retaining the status quo,making sure it doesnt slip,we want more than that we need to grow first which for me introduces different dynamics to the way financing is approached.

  • August 22nd 2012 @ 11:17am
    onside said | August 22nd 2012 @ 11:17am | ! Report

    Two international codes in Australia,rugby and football, share an identical problem.No FTA TV.

    This limits growth ,exposure,kids that play the games cant watch it on TV without a pay chanel.

    Perhaps the two codes should form a strategic alliance, and offer joint TV rights as a package.

    Rugby and football are not in competition with each other. Join forces = real negotiating clout.

    • August 22nd 2012 @ 11:45am
      Futbanous said | August 22nd 2012 @ 11:45am | ! Report

      Seems a topic for another deeper debate. Rugby/Football combo.
      Regarding FTA & football,the game was well covered domestically & Internationally for the Socceroos for years on SBS. As a fan I welcomed their coverage, considering the TV wastleland football coverage was in Australia prior to them starting to broadcast.
      However Football is part of my DNA I grew up with it In England,no sell there.
      Was it the same for the rest of the sporting public?
      I would argue that it mainly reinforced the belief of those already with a strong background in the sport ie mainly migrants & their children. Hence the disproportianate amount of Socceroos who were children of post war migrants from the Seventies onwards.
      Did it encourage the mainly Anglo/Celtic Aussie kids to pursue a career in the game in numbers? Of that I’m doubtful.
      IMO that came later with the increasing awareness of things that mattered outside your own backyard.
      Global celebrities,global finance,global sport.
      Beckham may not have been the best football player produced,but he was certainly the best global product from football produced.
      Whether we like it or not of the 80,000 who turned up in Sydney to see him few years ago,at least half saw him on the front of Womens Weekly or on a billboard in his Jocks at a bus stop.
      But he was a Footballer,the game is exposed globally.
      Globalisation & not FTA SBS or otherwise is the main reason that football continues to expand. Here,USA,Asia,Africa wherever doesnt matter.
      What is the most global of media,the Internet for me that needs to be explored to the max by the FFA.
      I get 95% of my football info from the Internet.
      KIds today see it as part of everyday living,their the future. Football needs to tap into this.

      • August 22nd 2012 @ 12:17pm
        onside said | August 22nd 2012 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        “Seems a topic for another deeper debate. Rugby/Football combo”

        Agreed.However lack of FTA TV links into a broader problem that faces both codes
        Kids play football or rugby and go home to watch either NRL or AFL,unless they are
        in the minority of families that have Foxtell. Both games are more difficult to coach if
        they cannot be seen played on TV at a top level.Kids struggle to conceptualise moves.
        They cannot watch structure,or maintaining shape.There are no team role models.

        Money is a massive issue.My brother in law in Melbourne last year payed over $300
        for his twelve year old son to play football.Got little for it, and had to provide coaches
        from amongst parents, who had no time because of work. This year the lad is having
        a crack at AFL.No fees ,plenty of equipment, coaching available. And my point is ?,
        without the money and exposure that can be generated by FTA TV , little will change
        at junior level in either rugby or football .And if the codes cannot hold onto these kids,
        because they cannot see the game on TV,then very few of them will watch the game
        as adults.The circle of sporting life.

        That aside, I have no doubt that this idea would be the first time anybody at board level
        in either code would have heard of it.But as you say,the topic should be for another day

        • August 22nd 2012 @ 1:43pm
          Realfootball said | August 22nd 2012 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

          Agree absolutely on your first paragraph. I coach a first grade under 15 team, and every week I see the problems you are referring to: without quality role models, they inevitably lack ambition in terms of skill and technique, struggle to conceptualise moves (as you note), and are completely blank when it comes to a strategic approach. In training sessions, therefore, I find I am still at the point of inventing the wheel with them, when the wheel should be well and truly rolling. These are talented kids and, yes, they all go home and watch NRL or AFL, because that is what is on tele. Only one or two have Foxtel. The A-League is, in effect, non existent for them. They don’t follow a team, and they never talk about it. Because the seasons don’t coincide, opportunties to get them to A-League games are limited, particuarly given the fact that it is around 2 hours to Suncorp.

          FTA is crucial in so many ways.

          • August 22nd 2012 @ 2:13pm
            Futbanous said | August 22nd 2012 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            So what about the World game or the ECL morning matches that SBS telecasts,their available.
            Quality World class players abound.
            Many matches from overseas are streamed live on SBS’s website also & the World Game is also repeated in full on its website.
            As a coach you have the ability to point them in this direction. The A-League is not the be all & end all of football,their are still FTA avenues & internet access avenues for these kids.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 2:50pm
              onside said | August 22nd 2012 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

              Good points Futbanous,but generally speaking kids dont watch sport in the
              morning.In those younger formative years, the other factor is what mum or
              dad want to watch.I managed under aged sides for a few seasons. At the
              end of the match the kids often talked about going home to watch the Broncos
              or the Brisbane Lions.This will take a long time to change, but it is difficult
              when there is nothing on FTA to view.Unless the family is a ‘rugby family’
              or ‘football family’,kids will gravitate from football in particular to other codes
              .Dad has a huge influence.I think FTA exposure to AFL and NRL gives the
              games,” street cred ‘.Notwithstanding the sell out support for either a rugby
              Test match, or a Socceroos International,the HAL for example lack continuity
              The game is not as ‘in your face’ as it deserves to be. This will change in time,
              but I cant see it happening without FTA exposure.I suppose what I am primarily
              concerned about is generating and maintaining a lifetimes interest in the game.
              There are thousands of kids that play football, but assuming they will remain
              lifelong supporters of the code requires a quantum leap in logic.No more I
              suppose than my fanciful idea of two different codes joining forces for pitch
              for FTATV rights .

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 3:21pm
              Futbanous said | August 22nd 2012 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

              Thats where the Internet plays its part. As I said theres plenty of free football streaming on SBS also dozens of clips of football matches from around the world,interviews with top players & of course a repeat of the World Game at any time you wish to watch.
              For me its more a case of what parents wish rather having access to football.
              Otherwise for me just weak excuses.
              Plenty of families at the Roar that I see also ,so somethings getting through.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 3:43pm
              Realfootball said | August 22nd 2012 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

              The reality is that these are 14 year olds who want to support their local team, not a team on the other side of the planet. You are seeing this from the perspective of an adult with lifelong commitment to the game. The kids needs need local teams and local heros.

              For the ECL, watching live isn’t a realistic option in any case, so you are relying on kids to be organised enough to set the recorder and the channel, which, as any parent knows, is a big ask – and for teams that mean nothing to them.

              As onside notes, parental influence is very important, and in the case of my players, most of the fathersfollow rugbgy, NRL or AFL, which adds considerably to the degree of difficulty.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 3:51pm
              Realfootball said | August 22nd 2012 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

              The other comment I would make here is that SBS is part of the problem. It is a niche broadcaster with a tiny audience reach (check the figures), with a reputation in the mainstream as special interest broadcaster. In the vast majority of Australian homes it is hardly, if ever, on the screen. I say this as someone whose favourite channel is SBS.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 4:55pm
              onside said | August 22nd 2012 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

              Futbanous;I understand where you are coming from,SBS, families at Suncorp
              watching the Roar.I cant disagree with you, but would like to add another
              dimension.Even the ‘kids’ that can access Foxtell only support one of the top
              four or five clubs in the EPL .Man U,Liverpool,Arsenal,Chelsea,There’s a
              smattering of support for other top teams ofcourse, but in the main the giants
              of EPL are the ones most favoured by the kids who also wear team shirt.
              The same club shirts are the main selection in Australian sports stores.
              Furthermore the number on the shirt is invariably linked to one key player.
              Now I realise that you and everybody else is aware of this fact,but its easy to
              take it for granted.Aussie kids that play or follow football have a far greater
              bond with say Arsenal and those colours,than they do with say the Brisbane
              Roar.Another reason for overseas support of top EPL clubs is they also play
              against the best teams in Europe .Huge exposure.I realise I am stating the
              bleedin’ obvious ,but the reason is television. And full circle to HAL, there
              simply isnt enough TV exposure in Australia for HAL to make meaningful
              inroads.Most kids that support EPL teams could not point on a map to what
              part of England the teams are located.And yet theywil be lifelong supporters.
              HAL has gotta get on FTA TV mate.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 5:40pm
              Realfootball said | August 22nd 2012 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

              Onside, my personal experience in coaching is that you are significantly overestimating the reach of the EPL amongst kids who play football.

              I come back to the point that the game, and knowledge of how to play the game, can only prosper amongst the kids – our next gen of adult supporters – if they have local teams to support. Why do you and Fut think AFL and NRL are so successful? Because they tap into local identification. The EPL and ECL simply cannot duplicate that effect.

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 5:40pm
              Realfootball said | August 22nd 2012 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

              double post

            • August 22nd 2012 @ 7:41pm
              onside said | August 22nd 2012 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

              Realfootball; my piece was poorly written.I knew what I wanted to say ,
              got lost,and it didn’t come across.Instead of sticking to one thing,I got
              myself in a mess.I agree with you on supporting a local team. I live on
              the Sunshine Coast and getting to a Roar game is both a physical and
              financial stretch.Whereas I can enjoy a local game of football or rugby,
              kids seem to need a bit more magic.And even if we lived near Suncorp
              where the Roar play,there is not a top flight game to watch every week.
              Rugby is the same at Super level.People want top level sport every week.
              And coming full circle, as high quality games are not even available every
              week on FTA TV,a large percentage of supporters and potential fans,miss out.

              lbe on FTA TV every week

            • August 23rd 2012 @ 8:49am
              Futbanous said | August 23rd 2012 @ 8:49am | ! Report

              “You are seeing this from the perspective of an adult with lifelong commitment to the game”
              However the scenarios presented here by yourself & onside sound no different to when I coached kids a generation before you.
              As a migrant I accepted that at the time because frankly Football was marginalised at best in those days at professional level domestically,not just in QLD but throughout the country.
              I do not accept that football is a marginalised sport today & neither should you.The landscape for football has dramatically improved since 30 years ago in Australia,experience tells me so.
              If you need proof(& your a Roar fan) check the attendances for professional football in Brisbane prior to 2005 at both domestic matches & International,then check them since.
              A marked contrast.
              The football has also improved markedly at Roar matches also,the quality is there as you would know. I dont believe that 50,000 people turning up at the last 2 grand Finals hasnt had an impact in the area.

            • August 23rd 2012 @ 10:53am
              Realfootball said | August 23rd 2012 @ 10:53am | ! Report

              I think we are arguing at cross purposes to an extent. I agree with everything you say in this last post. All I am arguing is that the EPL and ECL aren’t enough on their own – too abstract for young kids. They need local teams and local heros – and by local I mean Australian. I live in NNSW, 2 hours from Suncorp, so a truly local A-League team is out of the question, but FTA televsion can provide kids with Aussie teams to watch at prime time tv hours. It has to be local and easily accessible to really reach most kids. Having been at both Suncorp finals, I can tell you that those games didn’t even register a blip with my young footballers in NNSW. None of them saw the game, except for two, including my son, who went with us, because none of them have Fox. Kids are very concrete creatures who live much more in the here and now than adults. If it isn’t there and directly intersecting with their world, it doesn’t exist.

              That is why we MUST have FTA.

            • August 23rd 2012 @ 10:59am
              Kasey said | August 23rd 2012 @ 10:59am | ! Report

              Well according to Fussball who quoted a tweeter at the SFC fans forum the SFC CEO indicated that FTA component IS in the new TV deal:), but as Foxtel retains exclusive rights until end of 2012-13 TEN or SBS wont be able to be broadcast one game and a highlights package until season 2013-14. can the whiners and whingers that our beautiful game attracts wait a bit longer? is now the question.

    • Roar Guru

      August 22nd 2012 @ 12:44pm
      TheGenuineTailender said | August 22nd 2012 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

      The ARU aren’t the ones doing the TV deal for Rugby in Australia. SANZAR are making plenty of money from their TV deals in NZL and RSA to go with Super Rugby being Rugby’s equivalent of the EPL, thus having big European viewer ship to boot. With all this money, SANZAR aren’t too interested in the ARU’s problems with game growth and player development as much as their own international expansion of the game.

      I wholly agree that no FTA coverage is an enormous handicap for Rugby and Football in Australia as it’s exposure is so limited. Same goes for cricket’s BBL. If I were a struggling sport’s CEO, I’d be investing in dedicated fans by cutting TV money and ensuring FTA coverage in the next deal so that you get the public exposure of your product. Make sure people are talking about your game. Get them hooked, then it’s time for the line and sinker to come in when the next deal rolls around.

      Obviously it’s not that simple, but that’s the general gist of how I’d do things.

      Futbanous alluded to the ‘future audience’ and internet streaming etc. I don’t understand why we can’t buy a subscription online to stream the sports we want most… I think plenty of people would be willing to fork out $100-300 (I certainly would) a year for live coverage of every game of their sport, going directly into the administrators pockets. We might even be willing to watch an add or two outside of live game-time as well. The internet is the future of entertainment, we currently get truncated highlights of each game without seeing the whole story of a match, and to basically ignore the medium for live coverage seems amateur at best.

      • August 22nd 2012 @ 12:57pm
        Futbanous said | August 22nd 2012 @ 12:57pm | ! Report


        I agree online streaming at a reasonable cost is the way ahead. I dont have Fox because it costs too much for my budget & I dont want the coverage that isnt football.
        The amounts you suggested would entice me to take up a subscription.

      • Roar Guru

        August 22nd 2012 @ 5:59pm
        Rellum said | August 22nd 2012 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

        I have had the idea for a while now of a iTunes style service when you can buy the live feed or replay of a single game or season of a particular team or the whole season of a particular league. It would give total freedom to the viewer and at a good quality of image. Something like that is the future.

  • August 22nd 2012 @ 11:40am
    Chop said | August 22nd 2012 @ 11:40am | ! Report

    The NRL has done the FFA a massive favour by sacking one of the better administrators the game has had.

    As a fan of both NRL and HAL I think Gallop will be outstanding in the role. Don’t forget that Gallop did much of the legwork on this TV deal before he was ungraciously punted from the NRL after the commision took control. It wasn’t a performance issue with Gallop it was a ‘you’re part of the NRL bad days so you’ve got to go’ cleanout.

    I really don’t think there’s any value in comparing HAL and NRL in regards to the TV deals, I think it’s clear that the NRL is significantly more appealing to the FTA channels than the HAL and will be for the short-medium term.

    I’d like to see the TV deal for the HAL mean that there is no salary cap for the teams so it could compete within the world market, but I don’t think that’s realistic any time soon

    • August 22nd 2012 @ 11:56am
      Futbanous said | August 22nd 2012 @ 11:56am | ! Report

      “I’d like to see the TV deal for the HAL mean that there is no salary cap for the teams so it could compete within the world market, but I don’t think that’s realistic any time soon”

      Not a great fan of salary caps,however they play there part in the A-League currently.
      On the above Chop,Australia will never compete on the World market per se.
      That means competing with the big European Leagues. Smaller European Leagues cannot compete in countries where football is a way of life,so its a pipedream here.
      However we can compete further down the food chain & our nearest direct opponents in Japan/Korea/China & Asia generally is where we need to focus.
      IMO its a priority that David Gallop gets on a fast learning curve about the nuances & challenges of our being part of the AFC. So far apart from Adelaide we aint held up too well in the ACL. Theres a myriad reasons why,Gallop needs to find out what they are & address them as he learns.
      The future of the A-League depends on this,as much as any TV deals.

, , , , , , , , , ,