FOOTBALL Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy is hoping a new TV rights deal announced yesterday will create a legion of new fans for the game in this country.
Lowy hailed the new arrangement, which begins on July 1 next year, as the most valuable and important commercial agreement in the history of Australian football.
The four-year agreement with Fox Sports, Foxtel and SBS starts next season and is worth $160 million in total - $148 millin in cash and $12 million in marketing.
In the new deal, Fox Sports will provide exclusively live coverage of all Socceroos matches until June 30, 2017.It will continue as the primary broadcaster of the A-League, providing live coverage of all regular season and finals matches
. In addition, Fox Sports will be the Australian rights holder of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015, broadcasting exclusively live coverage of the 32-match tournament.
As part of the new arrangements, SBS will provide live free-to-air coverage of the Friday night A-League game and a one-hour delay coverage of all finals matches.
SBS will also provide coverage on a one-hour delay of all Socceroos FIFA World Cup qualification matches played from now until 2017.
Lowy said: "Today, the new broadcast arrangements will give FFA an unprecedented opportunity to implement its strategic plans for Australian football."
FFA chief executive David Gallop said Fox Sports played a huge part in the growth and investment in Australian football.
He also welcomed the inclusion of SBS to the TV rights deal, saying: "SBS will significantly extend the audience reach of our major games for the Qantas Socceroos and in the Hyundai A-League, with benefits for our fans, clubs and sponsors".
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