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FFA reveal record breaking media deal

The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) has confirmed a record-breaking media rights deal for the A-League and national team games, reports SportsPro. Fox Sports and SBS have acquired the rights for a four-year period, beginning next July, for some AUS$160 million (US$166 million). The deal also includes 'sponsorship and promotional support' from Foxtel.

One report said Fox Sports will pay AUS$32 million (US$33.2 million) annually to broadcast five A-League games per week and Australian home World Cup qualifying matches.

SBS is reportedly set to pay AUS$7 million (US$7.2 million) annually for one game from the A-League per week, which will be broadcast free-to-air. Under the new contract SBS, which hold the Australian rights to the Fifa World Cup until 2022, will broadcast national team games free-to-air with a one-hour delay.

The announcement means the organisation has doubled its income from media rights. The FFA's current seven-year deal is worth AUS$19 million (US$19.7 million) annually.

The media rights deal was the last task for FFA chief executive Ben Buckley, who has now been replaced by former National Rugby League chief executive David Gallop.

FFA chairman Frank Lowy said: "FFA has been building the foundations for sustained growth with the success of the Qantas Socceroos, the consolidation of the Hyundai A-League and the popularity of our beautiful game with 1.7 million participants at the grassroots.

"Today, the new broadcast arrangements will give FFA an unprecedented opportunity to implement its strategic plans for Australian football."

Colin Smith, the noted Australian sports media rights specialist who runs Global Media & Sports, told SportsPro in September that the deal would mark a "very significant increase" for the FFA.

Smith, speaking at the Sportel Monaco sports television rights marketplace, said of the A-League: "It's very important for the subscription television where it's on because it's a summer sport - summer football and all of our other football codes are in the winter.

"This holds the audience for longer and what the owners of the clubs have done in the A-League is attracted some really important talent, like [Alessandro] Del Piero in Sydney; a very significant investment but that's had a real increase in television audiences."

Smith added: "The television audiences this season compared to last season are probably up 30 or 40 per cent. That's because all of a sudden there's renewed interest and you can only see that sport going further northwards."

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Dave Williams

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