The Roar
The Roar


Football needs to be more accessible for fans in Australia - improved A-League broadcast deal vital for growth

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Roar Pro
22nd May, 2024

Let’s put money aside for a second and instead focus on what a broadcaster would do for the leagues instead of what they would pay for the leagues.

The current broadcast partner, Paramount Plus has the rights to the A-Leagues up until the end of the 2025/26 season, however, many fans have found issues with the broadcaster showing and promoting the leagues as well as streaming and connectivity problems.

Given the problems with the broadcast to date and viewer discontent, it wouldn’t be a complete shock for them not to see out their agreement.

So, either way, the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) who manage both the A-League Men’s and A-League Women’s competitions need to plan for their next deal.

Before the Paramount Plus deal, Fox Sports was the broadcaster of the leagues with a mix of other free-to-air arrangements for some games.

Everything was going rather swimmingly for Fox Sports, and their love of football both domestically and overseas, with one of their key features being a Super Saturday seeing two or three A-League Men’s games leading into the early Premier League kickoff.

A great way to engage fans of both leagues.


But when Fox Sports lost the Premier League broadcast rights to Optus Sport in 2015, their love of football suffered and so did the A-Leagues as a result.

The Fox Sports and A-League’s agreement ended in a rather messy divorce and their support of domestic football ever since has been very minimal, even to the point of doing more harm than good.

(Photo by Jeremy Ng/Getty Images)

So which broadcaster is ideal for the A-Leagues?

Finding a broadcast partner who is willing to stump up substantial money for the A-Leagues would be great. But more importantly at this stage, the APL need to find a partner who is going to look after and grow the leagues.

Optus Sport has the broadcast rights to the Premier League and has over one million subscribers with access to some of the best leagues in the world. These include the Premier League, La Liga, Women’s Super League, Women’s FA Cup, Women’s FA League Cup, J-League, K-League and NWSL as well as international football including UEFA and Copa America 2024.

Generally, if you love your football, you’ve got Optus Sport. So why wouldn’t the A-Leagues want to add their name to this comprehensive list of football products?


One of the biggest gaps in the Paramount Plus broadcast deal is the lack of exposure in pubs and clubs.

I would hope most licensed facilities would have Optus Sport as an option for those football fans who can’t afford the subscription or would prefer to congregate with some friends at their local.

Cortnee Vine. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

This is a huge frustration with Australian football fans, with it being hard enough to get one dedicated TV to watch football amongst all the NRL and AFL content each weekend.

Optus Sport has shown its worth as a committed football broadcaster over the last decade and it makes sense for the A-Leagues to partner with them.

At this time in the A-League’s existence, it’s more important now than ever to make the product more accessible to football people.

The actual product and talent on the field are good for those who bother to watch it.


Testament to this is the recent transfers of players in the leagues going straight from the A-Leagues into top leagues around the world.

These transfers also command good money when done well, meaning that clubs will be less reliant on the distribution of funds from the broadcast deal.

No broadcast deal is complete without a free-to-air component and SBS, football’s traditional broadcaster, would be ideal to fulfil this piece of the deal.

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

If SBS could pick up two games a week from each league plus broadcast finals games, this would give the league even more necessary exposure.

Between Optus Sport and SBS, there is huge potential to grow the A-Leagues, through not only broadcasting the league but using their platforms to promote the league through advertisements and dedicated football shows that A-League fans would absolutely flock to.

Sports opinion delivered daily 



The money for the broadcast deal is important, no doubt, and it needs to be substantial enough to cover costs and support the league.

But the APL need to get this broadcast deal right and get the product in front of football people and into the right markets – for the future of the A-Leagues.