Nine Network to broadcast Socceroos games
Photo Source: AAP
Football Federation Australia has struck a deal with the Nine Network to broadcast the Socceroos' World Cup qualifiers live on free-to-air television.
In an encouraging sign ahead of the renegotiation of TV rights for the A-League and W-League, Nine will show all remaining qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia - starting with matches against Saudi Arabia on Friday morning (AEDT) and Japan on Tuesday - through to September next year.
"This is a great result for football, tremendous news for Socceroos fans around Australia," FFA chief executive David Gallop said.
"We welcome the undeniable sports broadcast expertise of Channel Nine on board for what will be two massive games for the Socceroos in the road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
"We have always stated our desire to have a commercial free-to-air (FTA) network to work with Fox Sports in delivering football to the Australian public and this is a positive sign that football is valued highly by the commercial FTA networks."
Last month's qualifiers against Iraq and the United Arab Emirates were not shown on free-to-air television because the old deal with SBS had expired, much to the consternation of fans.
Fox Sports recently bought the rights for Socceroos matches from media group Lagardere Sports and have on-sold them to the Nine Network, which will simulcast the games on the 9GO! channel.
The deal suggests Nine is keen to also broadcast the A-League and W-League, which both come up for renewal at the end of this season.
FFA is hopeful of potentially doubling the current $40 million per annum deal with Fox Sports, which could drive further growth in the game, including an increase in the A-League salary cap and expansion.
A regular presence on a commercial FTA broadcaster for domestic football would be a gamechanger for the sport.
Fox Sports no longer has exclusive negotiating rights with FFA, which expired at the end of September.
That means any organisation - including the Seven and Ten networks, as well as English Premier League broadcasters Optus, who have all shown interest - can put forward a bid.