Australia football hails TV deal, clubs eye Beckham
SYDNEY (AFP) –
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.
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.