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FFA shores up the game's TV future

19 November 2012-AAP

a-league sbs

A new era... A-League fans will now have the opportunity to watch their teams LIVE on SBS (Getty)

Football Federation Australia unveiled a new $160 million four-year broadcast deal for the game.

On a day new FFA CEO David Gallop declared was "very exciting" for football, he announced the new television rights deal would be shared between Fox Sports and SBS, with one A-League match per week shown on free-to-air television for the first time on SBS.

"The former sleeping giant of Australian sport is awake. He's out of bed, he's in the street and now has some cash in his pockets," Gallop said at a media conference on Monday.

Beginning with the 2013-2014 A-League season, SBS will show one live match every Friday in the deal that ends on July 1, 2017.

The network will also broadcast all finals matches, including the grand final, on a one-hour delay and a weekly highlights show.

"SBS will significantly extend the audience reach of our major games for the Qantas Socceroos and in the Hyundai A-League, with benefits for our fans, clubs and sponsors," he said.

"The network has a long history of covering Australian football and today we open a new and exciting chapter together."

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said SBS was proud to be part of a partnership that would give all Australians access to the A-League and Socceroos.

"SBS has always championed the sports which unite communities and the world and with football being the world's biggest game it is fitting that the Hyundai A-League and Qantas Socceroos will now have a free-to-air presence on SBS, building on our strong football pedigree," he said.

"This deal is exciting news for football fans across the country and will give all Australians access to matches like never before.

"It's a partnership which will help take the domestic game in Australia to the next level and SBS is excited to be working with the FFA and FOX Sports to help grow the game.

"Broadcast of the Socceroos will complement SBS's FIFA World Cup coverage, which SBS has the rights to all editions up to and including 2022."

FFA chairman Frank Lowy hailed the new deal.

"FFA has been building the foundations for sustained growth with the success of the Qantas Socceroos, the consolidation of the Hyundai A-League and the popularity of our beautiful game with 1.7 million participants at the grassroots," he said.

"Today, the new broadcast arrangements will give FFA an unprecedented opportunity to implement its strategic plans for Australian football.

"There's never been any doubt that the game has a bright future in this nation, but today the football family can take comfort from the huge vote of confidence from our broadcast partners.

Gallop said the $160 million consisted of $148 million in cash and $12 million in marketing support.

The A-League salary cap will not be raised despite the increase in money coming into the game, Lowy said.

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