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Foxtel signs one-year Football Federation Australia deal ‘worth A$32m’

Nathaniel Atkinson of Melbourne City is contested by Dimitri Petratos of the Newcastle Jets during the round 26 A-League match. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

Australian pay-television broadcaster Foxtel has reached an agreement with Football Federation Australia (FFA) to cover the remainder of the 2019-20 A-League season and the 2020-21 campaign in a deal worth a reported A$32m (€19.6m/$22m).

Earlier this week, it was reported that Foxtel had terminated its rights contract with the FFA amid ongoing talks over a revised deal. It was claimed that Fox Sports, a Foxtel subsidiary, had used a force majeure clause to end its A$57m-per-year deal with FFA, which had another three seasons remaining.

However, a short-term deal has now been reached between the two parties ahead of the resumption of the A-League season on July 16. The A$32m price tag, reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, is in line with other renegotiated deals accepted by other sporting codes.

The 2020-21 season is scheduled to run from December to next July.

It was reported last month that Fox had been seeking a reduction of between 50 and 70 per cent to its rights deal for the remaining three years of the previous contract. The six-year deal, agreed in December 2016, granted Fox Sports rights to the A-League, W-League and Australian men’s and women’s national team matches from the 2017-18 to 2022-23 seasons.

The agreement also includes the W-League and national team matches. Australia’s final four 2022 Fifa World Cup second-round qualifying matches will be shown on Fox Sports, while Socceroos and Westfield Matildas friendly international matches will also be aired by the broadcaster until the end of July 2021.

The FFA said that commercial broadcaster ABC, the free-to-air rights-holder, would also continue to broadcast one A-League and Westfield W-League match per week until the end of July 2021, along with FFA-controlled Socceroos and Westfield Matildas matches.

The new deal does not include the FFA Cup, which may lead to the tournament being streamed on the FFA’s OTT streaming platform. The FFA said today (Friday) that it “will consider innovative new broadcast arrangements for the only truly national Cup competition in Australian sport”.

Foxtel’s A-League coverage has suffered significant ratings declines in recent years.

FFA chief executive Officer James Johnson said: “The pandemic has created uncertainty and accelerated disruption to the sports media sector and to football here in Australia and abroad – this new agreement adjusts to this new reality, secures the immediate future of football in Australia and provides flexibility for FFA to lay a foundation to transition into a new world for Australian professional football.”