A-League seeking bumper TV deal
Photo Source: AAP
David Gallop has trumpeted the Tim Cahill effect as a turning point for the game in Australia as the FFA ramps up negotiations over its next A-League broadcast rights deal.
The game's governing body is hoping to land a bumper deal on the back of the excitement generated by the Socceroos great's return to Australia.
Cahill's wonder goal in his Melbourne City debut on Saturday went viral across the football-loving world and gave the code a boost when it needed it most.
The FFA has begun the next stage of broadcast rights negotiations and is courting the major commercial television networks.
While FFA chief executive Gallop predicted a deal would take months, he couldn't be more pleased with the hype generated by the first fortnight of the 2016-17 season, in particular the response to Cahill's arrival back in Australia.
"The timing is good for us, we're showcasing the game and the future of the game," he said.
"The future of the game is that it's going to get bigger and bigger.
"We know that it's got a massive participation base but we've got to grow that into fans of our clubs and demonstrate to media companies that that investment will not only pay dividends now but it will pay dividends into the future as this sport, the world game, gets bigger and bigger in Australia."
While it's only early days, Gallop trumpeted the fact A-League crowds are up 33 per cent on the same time last year while television ratings are up 44 per cent.
The round one Sydney derby was attended by a competition record crowd of 61,880 and watched by 142,000 people on Fox Sports.
The weekend's Victory v Melbourne City clash attracted 43,188 fans to Etihad Stadium and was watched by another 132,000 on TV.
Gallop said Cahill's popularity had the potential to grow the pie for the game which would have ramifications for Australian soccer's next broadcast deal as well as the expansion of the competition.
"I think the exciting thing is when you look across the competition you're seeing wonderful football being played," Gallop said.
"Australian players, imported players, the headline act (Cahill) getting a wonderful goal, there's a lot to look forward to."