Thursday, July 13, 2006

Network Nine and SBS to Broadcast National Soccer in 2007?

The Australian newspaper is today reporting that post-World Cup 2006 euphoria is expected to prompt Football Federation Australia to exploit an opening in its A$120million (US$490 million approx) broadcast rights contract with pay-TV operator Fox Sports to develop a highlights package (for terrestrial TV broadcasts - Ed). Such a deal would allow large sections of Asian Cup soccer matches featuring the Australian national side to be shown on free to air in 2007.

Industry sources said Nine Network CEO, Eddie McGuire and World Cup rightsholding broadcaster, SBS Television would be interested in such a deal, although Nine's sports department is believed to be waiting for the dust to settle after a round of retrenchments and cost- cutting, says the newspaper in its report.

[Traditional soccer has seen a comeback in interest in Australia following the intense radio and TV coverage of FIFA World Cup in Germany this past month heightened by the digital television technical on screen quality viewers have watched. Australian Rules Football (more akin to Rugby) has had a headway for several years. Traditional soccer interest however is strongest amongst Australia's multi-cultural and new immigrant groups. SBS Television programming is targeted at these groups. - Ed]

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