Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Fox Football Frenzy

Wednesday 26 April 2006

FFA and FOX SPORTS announce ground-breaking broadcasting agreement
Historic deal to secure Football's future

Football Federation Australia and Fox Sports today announced a landmark agreement that will see all Australian home internationals, the Asian Cup, Hyundai A-League and AFC Champions League, broadcast exclusively live on Fox Sports from 2007.

The agreement is worth in excess of $120 million over seven years. The combined package covers all Qantas Socceroos home matches, including the 2007 & 2011 Asian Cup tournaments, Asian Cup qualifiers, and the World Cup qualifiers through the Asian Football Confederation in 2008 (selected preliminary matches) and 2009 (all final round matches).

Following on from the first season, Fox will again broadcast the Hyundai A-League, with the vast majority of matches continuing to be shown live.

The Chairman of FFA, Mr Frank Lowy, said the deal was "truly remarkable," and a massive vote of confidence by a major broadcaster in the future of football in Australia.

"Importantly, this transaction creates a 'home of football' and enables the FFA to support and nurture the whole of the game, including the professional and community arms. The Socceroos will be beneficiaries, as will the Hyundai A-League, both at the overall competition level, as well as individual clubs; this deal enables the FFA to subsidise each club, equally, and thus will help sustain them and showcase our new national competition, the Hyundai A-League."

"Fox Sports is to be congratulated for embracing the game, for showing faith in the enormous potential of football in Australia and for investing upfront in helping to realise that potential."

Fox Sports Chief Executive Officer, David Malone, said "football's performance over the past 12 months suggests it can fulfill its potential in Australia in the years ahead."

"Having invested significantly in that potential back in 2004, we have been delighted to see the game in Australia exceed all of our expectations," he said.

"We believe the coverage and presentation of Football we have provided on Fox Sports has played a part in its success to date, and we are looking forward to creating an even more exciting Home of Football over the next few years.

"There has never been a bigger commitment to football from a broadcaster in Australia, and with our history of providing great football coverage including the English Premier League and last season's first ever A-League, we are now very much looking forward to giving the same commitment to Socceroos matches, along with the Asian Cup and Asian Champions League."

FFA Chief Executive John O'Neill said today's announcement represented "a terrific deal for Football at this early stage of its development as a mass entertainment sport in Australia."

"At this stage, above everything else, Football needs security and sustainability," he said.

"It is something that it has never had, and without it the Game would remain fragile and vulnerable. From such a stable platform we can genuinely develop this sport over the years ahead."

Mr O'Neill stressed the challenges still facing the Game.

"As significant as this agreement is, it is sobering to remind ourselves of the extraordinary resources required to operate such a uniquely diverse and expansive sport as ours.

"Eight national representative teams - men and women - as well as a genuinely national professional domestic competition, and a grassroots participant base comprising more than a million players, means there are a lot of mouths to feed!

"This deal will allow some further investment in the identification & development of elite players of the future, in developing and enhancing our national competition, the Hyundai A-League, and in better servicing our grassroots."

Mr. O'Neill acknowledged Fox Sports role in the revival of football in Australia and said today's announcement was further evidence of its commitment to play an active role in the development of the game.

"The quality and credibility of Fox Sports' coverage has been, and will continue to be, a vital component of the Game's revival in Australia," he said.

"We remain very grateful to David and the team at Fox Sports for the initial leap of faith that they took in 2004, and we look forward to growing our already successful partnership over the coming years."

"The guaranteed nature and extent of their coverage will ensure that Football fans are presented with the quality which they expect and deserve."

In closing, Mr. O'Neill thanked, and acknowledged the continuing commitment of SBS. "SBS have been long term supporters of the Game, and they will continue that association as they broadcast the first of Australia's Asian Cup Qualifiers in the second half of this year, and then through their recently-announced deal to broadcast the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and 2014. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Shaun Brown and his team at SBS for their ongoing support for Football."

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