There are so many sports that are desperately vying for media attention, especially the much valued television coverage. With television coverage comes sponsorship, and sponsorship allows the sport to invest in youth and development programs that can ensure the next generation have the best opportunity to achieve or surpass their predecessors.
We have featured many sports on the show in the past eight years who have stated that failure to qualify for the Olympic games means that their sport misses out on television coverage, and then funding and faces the difficult task of achieving that same goal in four years time, with less resources. A failure then and it sinks further behind its competitors around the world.
That is why it will be music to the ears of Hockey fans that Hockey Australia is about to sign a broadcast deal with the ABC that will guarantee free-to-air coverage of its six biggest events through to the end of 2014. Having worked closely with the International Hockey Federation (FIH), this deal means that hockey fans will be able to watch events such as next year’s World Cup, the Champions Trophy and the recently concluded International Super Series on free-to-air television.
Apart from being great news for the fans it is also wonderful news for the athletes playing the game. For a long time the Australia male and female teams have matched it with the best in the world, but have only received such attention come the Olympics. Now their achievements and the excitement of teh game will be more readily available to a wider audience and they will receive the respect and plaudits they deserve. The big bonus in the deal that has been brokered is that Hockey Australia will not receive any revenue from the ABC, but neither will it have to pay production costs as it has done in previous years.
Some may see the lack of revenue coming back to the game as a negative, but Hockey Australia’s chief executive Cam Vale quite rightly sees this as an opportunity, as it will give Hockey Australia the chance to find second tier sponsors to complement its current major partnership deals with Fortescue Metals Group and Ausdrill for the national men’s and women’s teams respectively.
“From an exposure point of view this is an important deal for us and an example of what can be done [by Australian sports],” he said. “It really helps us in commercial terms, both in terms of raising awareness of the sport and also providing some exposure for our existing sponsors.”
Congratulations to the ABC and Hockey Australia on putting this deal together, one that is sure to benefit both parties.