Free-to-air A-League on cards for SBS
SBS is close to an audacious deal to bring the A-League to free-to-air television by showing a game every week from next season
SBS is close to an audacious deal to bring the A-League to free-to-air television by showing a game every week from next season.
According to a Daily Telegraph story, Football Federation Australia is close to tying up the long-awaited new broadcast deal to replace the existing pay-TV-only contract which expires next year and SBS are favourites to supply the coveted free-to-air exposure for the Australian domestic league.
The proposed deal would see Fox Sports continue to show four of five games every week, with the fifth and possibly a highlights show on the government-funded network.
With talks between Football Federation Australia and various networks having intensified in recent weeks, it's believed SBS is considering withdrawing from the bidding for the UEFA Champions League to free up money for an A-League contract, if its talks with FFA are successful.
SBS currently share rights for the Champions League with ESPN, but have long sought to provide a platform for the domestic game.
However, sources close to the deal say SBS's involvement is not yet a completely done deal, with the fallout from the imminent conclusion of the NRL's TV negotiations still to be felt.
If Channel Ten in particular are left with nothing from the rugby league contracts, it's believed they may make a late play to secure soccer to shore up their sports portfolio.
Nonetheless the SBS offer carries significant weight because of the depth of coverage it would bring to the A-League from a free-to- air perspective.
Neither SBS nor FFA were prepared to comment on any speculations regarding free-to-air broadcasting.
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