The new broadcasts rights for Football in Australia look to be great news for fans of the game. Fox Sports have continued their commitment to the game, but the bonus is the free to air coverage that is part of the package. Commencing in the 2013/14 season, SBS will provide live free-to-air coverage of the Friday Night Hyundai A-League regular season match and during the finals series they will air games on a one-hour delay.
Whereas Football could not have done without Fox Sports and their commitment to the game, like all sports in Australia there needs to be free-to-air television coverage as well as pay-tv.
The bonus for viewers is despite there only being one game a week on SBS, the fact that two networks will be airing games will build competition and hopefully help raise the bar in terms of innovation and the way the games are presented. It will keep the game fresh.
Already several of the A League clubs franchise owners are rubbing their hands together at the extra money that has been negotiated, which they see as filling the gap between profitability and continually operating at a loss. However this money needs to be allocated properly and carefully if we are to secure the future of the game.
Some of this money has be allocated to improving the levels of coaching around the country so that our young players have the best possible schooling in the game. This coaching must be subsidised by the FFA and young volunteer coaches who are involved because of a passion for the game need to be the recipients of this expert training. Oh and dare I mention referees?
This extra money should not mean that the salary cap is raised, it should not mean more Marquee players costing the league millions per year. It must be invested in the future and into the young boys and girls that are tomorrow’s A-League and W-league players, and hopefully Socceroos and Matildas of the future.
$148million over four years is a lot of money, but with hands coming out from all corners of the game wanting a slice of the pie new CEO David Gallop will need to be extra cautious in determining who receives what.
$12 million in marketing support will again need to be spent carefully as this could soon evaporate, the recent adverts promoting the game that have come out of the FFA have been good, but one has to question, whether they may have been better served producing various shorter advertisements rather than one long one, and spread them out over a season to sustain interest and impact.
It has been a while coming but at first glance Football now has a foundation on which to build for the next four years. The future look a lot brighter with this deal in place and a new CEO at the helm.