Fox, FFA hammer out deal to screen remainder of A-League season

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The tempestuous divorce between Fox Sports and Football Federation Australia has been put on hold, with the rights holder agreeing to broadcast the remainder of the A-League season.

Weeks of tense, on-again, off-again, negotiations had left the competition facing the threat of no TV coverage when it resumes on July 16.

But a short-term resolution has been agreed between the parties, meaning fans will be able to tune in to watch a hectic condensed A-League calendar, with 27 games in 28 days.

However, according to a club source, discussions are ongoing over extending the negotiated agreement for a further 12 months beyond that, with cause for optimism at FFA and among the club chiefs.

The rehashed 12-month deal is understood to be in excess of $30 million.

The proposal by Fox for next season to be screened involves the competition switching from an October start to a December kick-off, with the grand final in June.

Fox Sports has been playing hard ball with the underperforming competition, using the interruption in matches due to the COVID-19 shutdown to enact a clause in their $57 million annual contract to force a renegotiation, or potential exit with three years left on the deal.

 

With the threat of playing out the season in stadiums devoid of cameras now lifted, FFA chief executive James Johnson and the clubs will have the breathing space to re-assess all future broadcasting options, even if it does lead to an ultimate split from Fox Sports.

A-League chief Greg O’Rourke hinted at an imminent peace pact earlier this week when he said: “We feel positive about both – about the ability to have Fox broadcast the finish to the season, and also be a partner going forward,” O’Rourke said.

“The conversations between Fox and FFA are now progressing fairly well.”