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🚨 Bossi Alert 🚨

If it survives the pain of Fox Sports split, A-League could blossom

If staying in an unhealthy marriage is worse than divorce, optimists might view the impending break-up of Fox Sports and the FFA as a good step. At least for the long term. And only if the game can survive the immediate hardship caused by a painful separation.

With the competition suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the broadcaster withheld its final quarterly payment for FFA due this week despite senior A-League sources claiming Foxtel, the parent company of Fox Sports, had little legal justification to do so. While those technicalities will be solved by lawyers, what's clear is the 15-year relationship between Fox Sports and FFA appears to have fractured beyond repair.

Plenty of senior figures in football believe that's the case. Some clubs are preparing for a near $3.6 million black hole in next season's budget, believing Fox Sports may have shown its last A-League match.

For the smaller clubs, that sum is more than they spend on their entire playing roster and is the main revenue stream. For Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC, however, their share of the TV money represents just 15 per cent of their total revenue. It's a considerable amount, but hardly the lifeblood that TV money is for NRL clubs.

According to sources at those bigger A-League clubs, broadcast revenue is becoming a secondary issue. What they need more than cash is exposure, and pay TV isn't providing it.

When FFA took its TV rights to the market in 2016, it attracted interest from free-to-air partners, namely Nine, the publisher of this masthead. However, Nine couldn't match Foxtel's offer and FFA opted for money over eyeballs when it agreed to a six-year, $57 million a year deal with Fox Sports. That amount appears to overvalue the product as interest in the A-League has dwindled, compounded by Foxtel's woes.

Since signing its deal with FFA in 2016, Foxtel subscriber numbers have fallen by more than 20 per cent. There are 700,000 fewer box sets that can access the A-League now than when the contract was signed. Foxtel has since launched its sport streaming platform Kayo, but those numbers too are beginning to decline. Kayo suffered a near 9 per cent drop in subscriptions between November 2019 and February 2020 and that was before all major sports were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Foxtel is in heavy debt and just last week slashed 200 jobs, having already scaled back its football department and cut "non-core" programs.

As Foxtel subscriptions have plummeted, the A-League has started to realise the fans are out there but watching elsewhere. According to News Corp, a McKinsey study this year revealed the A-League had the youngest demographic of all major sports in Australia, with almost half under the age of 34. Its fan base was the most digitally engaged, most likely to watch content online and least likely to own a Foxtel box set.

At a time of heightened uncertainty about the competition's broadcast deal, several digital streaming services are on the shortlist of alternative broadcasters of the A-League, such as DAZN and Optus Sport. FFA hasn't engaged in discussions yet, but is not waiting for Fox Sports to walk before beginning a search for back-up broadcasters.

To many senior stakeholders in the game, Fox Sports' departure appears inevitable and could become formal before the end of this month. A legal stoush will follow and FFA has already sought advice from leading silk Bret Walker, SC, who recently worked on George Pell's appeal.

If Fox Sports pulls the plug, the $3.2 million salary cap will shrink next season, foreign players will leave en masse and fans can forget about marquees. Cash-strapped clubs such as Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets would do well to stay afloat until next season. But if the FFA can find a broadcaster with a much bigger reach and an emotional investment, the biggest clubs might look back at the split from Fox Sports could be looked back upon as the removal of the shackles that have prevented them from fulfilling their potential.

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This also seems to have riled up Robbie Slater.

 

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"I will defend the company I work for when it comes to supporting football in this country" he says, in response to an article about the company he works for illegally withholding a significant amount of money from football in this country.

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Bossi article names 2 clubs as "big" clubs then goes on to say

 

"Cash-strapped clubs such as Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets would do well to stay afloat until next season. But if the FFA can find a broadcaster with a much bigger reach and an emotional investment, the biggest clubs might look back at the split from Fox Sports could be looked back upon as the removal of the shackles that have prevented them from fulfilling their potential."

 

A 2-4 team competiion will be very short.

 

Who is this broadcaster with "much bigger reach and an emotional investment,"?

Only SBS of the FTA broadcasters have emotional investment. So it's streaming, services do they really have a bigger reach (they have a bigger potential reach than foxtel)

 

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I don't mind the general idea of having a short "big bash" style version of football. I don't agree with some of the details of his proposal (played mid-season, 6 a side). I'll quote my post from 2018 that he clearly stole the idea from.

Quote

Rather than make football gimmicky to emulate the BBL they could have a short version of the game that can be the T20 equivalent for football. In fact it already exists in futsal.

They could have an off-season national futsal competition with the existing A-League clubs (maybe even some NPL clubs if we're being optimistic) that can be all about music and flashing lights and guest stints with aging superstars. That way you aren't devaluing the core game if you try these new things, in the same way test cricket would never allow music between deliveries, DJ platforms, smoke machines, etc.

The NBL currently plays during the A-League season so their venues would be available during our off-season, and they have a team in pretty much every city the A-League does so venues should be easy to organise. Plus futsal is a legitimate sport with a huge overseas following, it's taken seriously by FIFA with both club and national team competitions and would provide another pathway for juniors into the sport. It'd also be a potential new revenue stream for the clubs if they sell memberships, merch and get a TV rights deal for the "Hollywood" version of the game like the BBL.

Of course the FFA are completely oblivious to this opportunity, as demonstrated by the fact they pulled funding from the Futsalroos.

 

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So my two Craig Johnstone stories one of which I think I posted on here

1) When I was it school on the outskirts of Liverpool (UK) there was a rumour that a big posh house we used to walk past on the way home was Craig Johnstone's, to this day I have no idea if it was true. Myself and a bunch other Everton supporitng  young  Scallys would stand on the wall out the front yelling abuse every afternoon. If it wasn't his house, I do wonder what the owners thought of a bunch of snotty nosed school kids standing on the wall yelling Evertoin are Magic Liverpool are Tragic at 3:30 every day was about. 

2) A friend of mine insists that they seen Craig Johnstone multiple times in the early 90's in various Newcastle pubs unsucessfully trying to woo a group of Lesbians

 

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On 19/04/2020 at 10:35 AM, Ossified said:

I love him in a mostly hetro way

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https://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/ex-wanderer-the-club-went-to-s-when-popovic-left

Thought this was an interesting article. I feel as if the kid was at the club a little longer, he might of had a chance at senior level under Babbel.

You can see Babbel really wanted to give our youth an opportunity at senior level. Plus, the likes of Massdoukoutas, Baccus, Sullivan, Grozos, Wilmering, Russell & Adam are just samples on what club will bring in the future.
 

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So why is Optus suddenly taking an interest in the A League. By interest I mean finding any ex Australian player they can to slag it off?

A consiparcy theorist would say it's to put the boot in, largely kill it, so they can come in like a Knight in Shining armour to "save" the game, in return for getting rights for next to nothing..

I don't trust those Mofo's any more than Foxtel

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2 hours ago, StringerBellend said:

So why is Optus suddenly taking an interest in the A League. By interest I mean finding any ex Australian player they can to slag it off?

A consiparcy theorist would say it's to put the boot in, largely kill it, so they can come in like a Knight in Shining armour to "save" the game, in return for getting rights for next to nothing..

I don't trust those Mofo's any more than Foxtel

Optus started broadcasting sport in July 2016. The latest A-league rights deal was also negotiated in 2016 (and I believe Fox had the right to the first offer and could then trump any subsequent offers if they eventuated). Optus paid overs for EPL to pry it from Fox, and then the 2018 WC not long after to bring in football subscribers. I doubt they were willing to cough up $60M+ a year for a competition that was no guarantee to bring in the number of subscribers they required to make their model viable.

They are now in more of a position to pay for more content when they've already got the subscribers signed up who they know are football fans and may be willing to watch A-league. We all know they won't pay the same as the current deal, but Fox wouldn't have either.

Re: talking heads about the A-league. Previously, it was not really in their interest to be promoting a rivals content (but they did occasionally discuss it on their podcasts). Now with no sport they are desperate for some sort of content and are using their employees contacts (i.e. the golden generation of Roos players) to get together and discuss the state of the game in Australia. Most of what those players said has been discussed ad nauseum in places like here, by certain journalists and Sokkah Twitter for years. What these players are saying is pretty reflective of how a lot of people feel about the current state of the game, they just might carry a bit more weight because of their pedigree.

I don't really trust any corporate entity to do anything beyond try and make a profit, but considering how Fox has treated the A-league for years (and utilised an aging business model that has deliberately tried to avoid streaming etc.), I'm happy for it to move somewhere else to see what comes of it. At least we know Optus has a ready made audience of football fans.

The biggest issue to iron out is who will cover the broadcasting arrangements (will it be supplied by Optus, or the league).

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17 hours ago, MathyouWSW said:

https://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/ex-wanderer-the-club-went-to-s-when-popovic-left

Thought this was an interesting article. I feel as if the kid was at the club a little longer, he might of had a chance at senior level under Babbel.

You can see Babbel really wanted to give our youth an opportunity at senior level. Plus, the likes of Massdoukoutas, Baccus, Sullivan, Grozos, Wilmering, Russell & Adam are just samples on what club will bring in the future.
 

To me, Kuku sounds salty and is just another player bashing the club for not giving him a chance. I agree with his statement about Popovic though.

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5 hours ago, Carns said:

Optus started broadcasting sport in July 2016. The latest A-league rights deal was also negotiated in 2016 (and I believe Fox had the right to the first offer and could then trump any subsequent offers if they eventuated). Optus paid overs for EPL to pry it from Fox, and then the 2018 WC not long after to bring in football subscribers. I doubt they were willing to cough up $60M+ a year for a competition that was no guarantee to bring in the number of subscribers they required to make their model viable.

They are now in more of a position to pay for more content when they've already got the subscribers signed up who they know are football fans and may be willing to watch A-league. We all know they won't pay the same as the current deal, but Fox wouldn't have either.

Re: talking heads about the A-league. Previously, it was not really in their interest to be promoting a rivals content (but they did occasionally discuss it on their podcasts). Now with no sport they are desperate for some sort of content and are using their employees contacts (i.e. the golden generation of Roos players) to get together and discuss the state of the game in Australia. Most of what those players said has been discussed ad nauseum in places like here, by certain journalists and Sokkah Twitter for years. What these players are saying is pretty reflective of how a lot of people feel about the current state of the game, they just might carry a bit more weight because of their pedigree.

I don't really trust any corporate entity to do anything beyond try and make a profit, but considering how Fox has treated the A-league for years (and utilised an aging business model that has deliberately tried to avoid streaming etc.), I'm happy for it to move somewhere else to see what comes of it. At least we know Optus has a ready made audience of football fans.

The biggest issue to iron out is who will cover the broadcasting arrangements (will it be supplied by Optus, or the league).

My understanding is that Fox outsource a majority of their broadcast production anyway. I’m sure Optus would and could just as easily do the same thing were they to take on the A-League. Plus if they want to be known as Australia’s home of football, having rights to the domestic top flight would go along way. 

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9 minutes ago, hughsey said:

My understanding is that Fox outsource a majority of their broadcast production anyway. I’m sure Optus would and could just as easily do the same thing were they to take on the A-League. Plus if they want to be known as Australia’s home of football, having rights to the domestic top flight would go along way. 

That's true. All the broadcasting (cameras, audio of live sport etc) is done by third party. The major difference would be who foots the bill. If Optus does so, they'd pay less for the rights. If the league did it, they'd ask for more (but lose some money on broadcasting costs).

The major difference is Optus (currently) don't actually pay to broadcast any live sport, they pay for rights to show it. They do panel shows etc. supporting live broadcast that is supplied from overseas markets.

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8 hours ago, StringerBellend said:

So why is Optus suddenly taking an interest in the A League. By interest I mean finding any ex Australian player they can to slag it off?

A consiparcy theorist would say it's to put the boot in, largely kill it, so they can come in like a Knight in Shining armour to "save" the game, in return for getting rights for next to nothing..

I don't trust those Mofo's any more than Foxtel

Eh any broadcasting deal is better than Fox at the moment surely. Also I see Optus getting the golden era players to talk about the game a positive. If Optus get the rights those players will probably have more opportunity then to improve the game by proposing and putting things in place. Then as the game improves and gets better in all facets, a better deal will be a lot more achievable, allowing them to grow it further.

You never know I guess. Certainly see where you are coming from.

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5 hours ago, THEWANDERERSPOST said:

To me, Kuku sounds salty and is just another player bashing the club for not giving him a chance. I agree with his statement about Popovic though.

Interesting, Gombau was sacked in part for not taking interest in the youth set up 

He May be salty but you can’t say he’s wrong it’s been a total cluster f since we left para mk 1

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9 hours ago, StringerBellend said:

Interesting, Gombau was sacked in part for not taking interest in the youth set up 

He May be salty but you can’t say he’s wrong it’s been a total cluster f since we left para mk 1

Thing is it wasn't the clubs decision to let Kuku go, they advised him to stay, his decision to leave. Maybe he just wasn't good enough, thats just how it is for a lot of youth players in the country who might make it. However his statement about Popovic and the club can't be questioned really because its true.

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1 hour ago, THEWANDERERSPOST said:

Thing is it wasn't the clubs decision to let Kuku go, they advised him to stay, his decision to leave. Maybe he just wasn't good enough, thats just how it is for a lot of youth players in the country who might make it. However his statement about Popovic and the club can't be questioned really because its true.

Whilst it's easy to agree with Kuku's comments about the club, I get the impression he thinks his ability is much better than what it really is. Surely City would have snapped him up had he been any good. I wonder if Taurus has any thoughts?

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3 hours ago, MartinTyler said:

Whilst it's easy to agree with Kuku's comments about the club, I get the impression he thinks his ability is much better than what it really is. Surely City would have snapped him up had he been any good. I wonder if Taurus has any thoughts?

Exactly what I was thinking. Some of the youth kids, in my opinion think they are god tier because they play at a professional club at youth level. If he was good enough, he would've gotten in the team or got offers from other A-League teams. His comments in general sound like he has a grudge against them for not giving him a chance. If you're not good enough, you won't get a chance, simple as that. 

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1 hour ago, THEWANDERERSPOST said:

Exactly what I was thinking. Some of the youth kids, in my opinion think they are god tier because they play at a professional club at youth level. If he was good enough, he would've gotten in the team or got offers from other A-League teams. His comments in general sound like he has a grudge against them for not giving him a chance. If you're not good enough, you won't get a chance, simple as that. 

Even the Mariners didn't sign him up.....:ninja:

:D

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Do we actually know that Optus are seriously interested in the HAL? Or is it just wishful thinking? Also more pertinently has anyone heard anymore about Hyundai's sponsorship situation?

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1 hour ago, hughsey said:

Sorry who the **** is Kuku? (partly) serious question...

That was my initial reaction !!

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The Fox Football podcast is a mixed bag at the moment. For a time it seemed to hurtling down the drain with that ignorant, football shock jock Slater shouting rubbish from the rooftops (I was once happy when I got his autograph on my old Northern Spirit jersey, but that’s before I heard him speak...), but then they came in with a couple of good interviews with Maclaren (good insight into the motivations of a player who, I think, thinks quite highly of the A-League) and Kerr (a break from the bloke club, and a good insight into life as a player in isolation), only to then give Slater another moment on the airwaves. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss Bozza, and he can definitely grate if you listen to him for too long.

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I can't listen to any of those that Slater is on. He just spouts utter garbage the whole time and is constantly interrupting.

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I’ve stopped listening to most sports podcasts purely cause I’m sick of hearing about the coronavirus anymore than I have to. The Peter Crouch podcast is probably one of the only ones (That I listen to regularly) not banging on about it and it’s implications.

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