Australia may score 20 times increase in TV rights

Australian football may have succeeded in negotiating a huge increasing in television revenue. According to media reports, Football Federation Australia is soon to announce a A$120 million television, seven-year deal with domestic Pay-TV network Fox Sports until 2013. At about A$17 million a year, it is still small compared to the AFL's A$156 million per year and the National Rugby League's A$80 million per year deals but it positions the sport close to the A$30 million per year the Australian Rugby Union receives from Pay-TV for its three-nation Super 14 series.

Significantly, it is almost a 20 times increase on the contract for the A-League's 2005/06 inaugural season, for which Fox paid A$750,000 in total.

According to Tom Smithies in the Herald Sun, the package agreed by FFA chief executive John O'Neill and FoxSports chief David Malone, will give the network about 90 A-League fixtures every season, six Socceroos games, the Asian Champions League, in which two A-League clubs will play from next year, plus Australia's Asian Cup qualifiers and finals.

The eight A-League clubs, each carrying unsustainable losses from the first season, could receive "up to A$10 million each immediately paying the vast bulk of the players' wages [and] with next season's salary cap expected to be A$1.6 million, the cash transfusion will transform the landscape in terms of the ability to attract high-profile players, whose salaries are outside the cap, and opens up the serious prospect of current Socceroos being tempted to return to play in Australia. It also will give the FFA millions to spend on grassroots development, from coaching development to the provision of better facilities," Smithies commented.

See also: First A-League championship won by Sydney FC (5 Mar)