A-League to be broadcast on Network Ten in new free-to-air deal

FFA Chairman Steven Lowy (left) and FFA CEO David Gallop (right) Source: Getty Images

Network Ten have signed on as the A-League's free-to-air broadcast partner in conjunction with Fox Sports.

Football Federation Australia announced on Friday Fox Sports will live simulcast its coverage of Saturday night A-League matches - and all finals matches - on Ten's 'One' channel.

Ten will also broadcast Socceroos games once the current FIFA World Cup qualifying cycle has ended, as part of the agreement that includes streaming rights.

It essentially means FFA failed to sell the free-to-air (FTA) rights directly to a major commercial network despite it being a better deal than what was sold to SBS, who had the rights to Friday night matches and had to broadcast the entire finals series on an hour delay.

FFA have subsequently reverted to Fox Sports under its six-year, $346 million deal to broadcast all games.

Fox Sports would then have on-sold the FTA rights to Ten in a deal likely to be worth significantly less cash for FFA than what incumbent FTA partner SBS has been paying.

Regardless, FFA chief executive David Gallop described it as a "win for football fans and an opportunity for us to showcase our game on a commercial network with a recent history of successfully covering major sport".

“We will take the biggest matches of the A League - such as the Saturday night derbies - into every household in Australia live for the first time,” Gallop added.

Fox Sports chief Patrick Delany said the deal - reported to be two-years - was a "great result for football fans" while Network Ten chief executive Officer Paul Anderson was proud to come on board.

"We will provide a consistent timeslot on One for 30 weeks of the year, promoting the A-League and its best game each week to all of Australia," Anderson said.

The new relationship will end FFA's deal with SBS, and take it to a network that has enjoyed success through its Big Bash League coverage.

It comes after the ABC was heavily criticised last week over its disastrous coverage of Sydney FC's friendly with Liverpool.

While the national broadcaster had not been the frontrunner to win the A-League rights it's understood its attempts at a comedic approach to the coverage ruled it out of calculations.

Source AAP