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ABC ‘edges closer’ to A-League rights deal

Sydney FC celebrate winning the 2019 A-League Grand Final (by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australian public-service broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is closing in on a rights deal for top-tier domestic club football competition the A-League, according to multiple reports.

Amid reports stating a deal could imminent, Football Federation Australia told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper that talks are in progress with broadcast partners.

An agreement with the ABC will reportedly see the A-League’s 5.15pm Saturday matches given a free-to-air simulcast, alongside the pay-television coverage provided by FFA’s current rights partner, Fox Sports.

Fox, which is in the midst of a six-year agreement covering the 2017-18 to 2022-23 seasons, would have to give its approval to any such agreement.

FFA was previously said to be in talks over a similar deal with commercial broadcaster Ten, but that collapsed amid the merger between the latter’s US owners, CBS, and Viacom.

The A-League last received primetime free-to-air exposure in 2014-15, when public-service broadcaster SBS covered Friday evening matches. The 2019-20 A-League season is due to commence on October 11.