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Four years a chance to position football for the next deal

Roar players celebrate following the A-League season 7 grand final between the Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Expert
31st October, 2012
174
2754 Reads

The new football TV deal will be announced next week, a four year deal, with a free-to-air element, amounting to just under $40 million dollars a season.

That’s according to a report from Roy Masters in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

The only detail that needs to be fleshed out between now and then is whether the one live game a week on SBS features on Friday night or on the more ratings-friendly Saturday night.

I’ve previously suggested that Friday night would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the A-League on free-to-air.

For Fox Sports, the broader attention from free-to-air coverage on Friday should also drive up their ratings and help introduce to rest of the weekend’s action.

This seems to be model that the NRL have adopted, with great success.

What’s new in the report this morning from Masters is the mooted length of the deal, with all previous reports suggesting the deal would be five years.

While I’d previously suggested a three year deal would be the perfect scenario, bringing football to the head of the queue at the next TV negotiation cycle, the reduction from five to four is certainly a win for the round ball game.

What it means is that the following TV deal will start on July 1, 2017.

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With the AFL and NRL five year deals also up for negotiation around the same time, it give football an opportunity to be at the bargaining table, not left with the scraps.

Incoming boss David Gallop now has a carrot.

The likelihood is that the negotiations for the next deal will start during the 2015/16 season, and that’s only three years away.

It would come on the back of having had Alessandro Del Piero here for at least two seasons, and the hope is that the A-League can continue to grow in that period, attract more marquees of his calibre.

TV ratings, attendances and media coverage are all significantly on the rise this season on the back of the arrival of Del Piero, Emile Heskey & Shinji Ono.

The arrival of Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton at the start of last season gave the A-League an opportunity to start an upwards trend after a two or three years of decline.

The key, now, is to keep building on this, every season.

Better players, more educated coaches, more sophisticated media coverage, more sponsors and a competition that always has fans as the centerpiece.

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Then there’s the national team, the Socceroos.

Certainly reaching Brazil 2014 would be a massive boost, and the spirited come from behind win in Doha over Iraq gives the Socceroos a better chance than they appeared to have ahead of that qualifier.

It’s no guarantee that Holger Osieck, struggling to rejuvenate the side, will get us there, but the hope is he will, and that the team will be starting the climb back up the mountain by then.

Certainly, having them back on free-to-air, even on hour delay, should return the Socceroos into the national conscience.

There’s no doubt the length of the previous TV deal and the fact the Socceroos were relegated from free-to-air had a big impact on the Socceroos “brand”.

Giving the back to the nation is one of the best things football can do.

Then, on back of the World Cup, we can immediately start to look forward to the Asian Cup the following year.

If it’s a hit, and if the 1993 World Youth Cup is any indication, it should be, that would allow Gallop to come to the bargaining table from a position of strength.

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While the $40 million a season deal mightn’t line the FFA’s pockets for the next few years, what the four year deal ultimately does is give football an opportunity for a better deal at the next round.