A-LEAGUE clubs are seeking a $60 million bonanza from the A-League’s new TV deal, hoping to secure a 250 per cent increase in their funding from the windfall.
After it was confirmed that Football Federation Australia has struck a new broadcast deal with Fox Sports, Foxtel and News Corp worth up to $346m over the next six years, FFA promised to tell the clubs quickly how much they would increase the central grant each club gets, up from the current $2.5m a year.
FFA chiefs hope to bolster the new deal with millions more from a free-to-air partner, after Fox Sports agreed to simulcast the prime Saturday night game when the new deal begins next season.
Negotiations with the FTA networks will follow next year once the rights to the Big Bash have been sold, but A-League clubs will write to FFA to seek a central grant of $6m a year each.
David Gallop announces the new a six-year deal. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
The new deal, announced on Tuesday and commencing next July, is believed to guarantee almost $300m in cash, with the balance made up of incentives if certain thresholds are met and of marketing spend.
As part of it, FFA has pledged to set aside $3m annually in its marquee fund, to bring more glamour signings to the league following the signing of Tim Cahill by Melbourne City.
The deal includes broadcasting on multiple platforms, and FFA chairman Steven Lowy said football had “never seen a deal of this magnitude before”.
Gallop said FFA would move “within months” to detail how much the owners would get, after the clubs’ umbrella body said it had “sought immediate assurances from the FFA regarding the future distributions and associated financial models required to ensure the sustainable financial health of the league and its clubs.”
The clubs argue that they generate the economic value of the league and so most of the TV deal, with most of the Socceroos’ prime games sold to Fox Sports separately by the Asian Football Confederation.
“We’ve told the clubs we’ll move quickly to produce a funding model that reflects their investment and acknowledges we have responsibilities to other parts of the game,” said Gallop.
“But there’s no doubt this will be an increase of some significance for A-League clubs. The cap position is already determined, and we want an arrangement beyond that which incentivises performance. It’s really important the licence values increase.”
Lowy called the new deal a “quantum leap” for the game, and added: “This six-year agreement gives us the certainty to continue to implement our strategy to grow the A-League and the W-League and invest more in grassroots football development and the women’s game.”
Gallop said that all the free to air networks had expressed interest in televising the league, though all sides are waiting for the completion of the Big Bash TV deal to see which losing network will have the money to spend on football.
An important part of that will be bringing more high-profile names to the competition, supported by the marquee fund which is tripled under the new deal.
“We have seen the enormous impact that our current marketing and marquee player strategies are having,” Gallop said.
“This year TV audiences, crowds and club memberships are all up and it is our intention to redouble our efforts in these areas under the new deal.”
Fox Sports CEO, Patrick Delany, said: “Today’s announcement sees Fox Sports remain the home of football in Australia. We have been there from the beginning, and have walked the hard yards, and we will be there to see Australian football reach its full potential.”