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Australia football hails TV deal, clubs eye Beckham

708   //    19 Nov 2012, 12:43 IST


A new TV deal with Fox Sports and SBS is the most valuable commercial deal ever reached in Australian football

File photo shows tens of thousands of Australian fans in Melbourne watching giant TV screens showiing the national football team play in a World Cup match. Australian football chiefs have hailed a bumper US$166 million four-year television deal with Fox Sports, pay TV provider Foxtel and free-to-air channel SBS.

Australian football chiefs on Monday hailed a bumper US$166 million television deal as they refused to give up on bringing former England captain David Beckham Down Under.

The four-year arrangement with Fox Sports, pay TV provider Foxtel and free-to-air channel SBS is the most valuable and important commercial deal ever reached in Australian football, Football Federation Australia said.

The Aus$160 million agreement, which starts in July 2013, will see A-League matches shown on free-to-air TV for the first time.

The previous arrangement with Fox was worth Aus$120 million over seven years.

“The former sleeping giant of Australian sport is awake. He’s out of bed, he’s in the street and now has some cash in his pockets,” said FFA chief executive David Gallop.

The A-League’s profile has had a major boost following the signing of Juventus great Alessandro Del Piero and ex-England striker Emile Heskey.

And the rights deal comes as clubs jostle to bring Beckham, 37, to Australia from January, despite the LA Galaxy midfielder’s denials that a deal is in the offing.

Beckham remains one of the biggest names in football and his presence in the A-League would help ratchet up its image

Australian football clubs are queuing up to bring former England captain David Beckham, seen here in July 2012 playing with Los Angeles Galaxy, to the country’s A-League in January, despite the 37-year-old denying a deal is in the offing.

Perth Glory have put their “hat in the ring” and are readying a bid, wealthy owner Tony Sage told Monday’s The Australian.

Beckham’s management team on Friday played down talk of any move Down Under after FFA said that the star player wanted to join an A-League club.

But Gallop insisted a deal could still be struck for a 10-match guest stint.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Melbourne Heart and Adelaide United were also in the race to sign Beckham along with an unnamed side that has already made a secret bid.

Under the new broadcast deal, Fox Sports will provide exclusive live coverage of all Socceroos matches and will remain the primary broadcaster of the domestic A-League competition until 2017.

SBS will present Friday night A-League matches live.

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