Ten adds AFC competitions to Australian soccer offering
Network Ten, the Australian commercial broadcaster, has consolidated its position as a leading broadcaster of soccer in the country by landing rights to national team competitions overseen by the Asian Football Confederation up to and including 2024.
The rights were acquired via national association Football Australia in a deal reported to be worth A$100 million ($77 million) and include the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the 2023 Asian Cup in China and the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup in India.
Australia’s men’s and women’s national teams participate in AFC competitions.
Ten is owned by US media group ViacomCBS, and the matches will be shown in Australia across the broadcaster’s main channel 10, 10 Bold, 10 Play and the Paramount+ streaming service.
The deal confirms Ten’s status as an emerging force in soccer, with the broadcaster having recently landed domestic rights to Australia’s men’s A-League and women’s W-League in a five-year agreement reported to be worth A$200 million in cash and contra.
The latest deal was clinched with Football Marketing Asia, the Hong Kong-based agency that sells commercial rights to competitions on behalf of the AFC outside of the Middle East for the 2021-24 and 2025-28 cycles.
Earlier this month, CBS acquired rights to AFC national team and club competitions in the USA until 2024.
Windsor John, the AFC general secretary, said on Tuesday: “The AFC is pleased to announce this partnership with Football Australia, and we are confident that this partnership will not only bring the AFC’s world-class competitions closer to millions of fans, but also grow the passion and consumption of the game in Australia.
“I would like to applaud Football Australia for sharing the AFC’s ambitions to ensure football continues to maintain its place as the Continent’s most popular sport through this unique partnership.”
James Johnson, the chief executive of Football Australia, added: “We are extremely pleased to welcome Network 10 and Paramount+ to the Australian football family. This is an enormous vote of confidence in the future direction of football in Australia including the bold 15-year vision and strategic agenda we have set for the game.
“It is also an endorsement of both the strength in the Westfield Matildas and the Socceroos brands and recognition of the exciting international schedule they face over the next 3.5 years.”
Patrick Murphy, board member and chief executive of Football Marketing Asia, said: “We are proud to have worked on a creative proposition with Football Australia for the upcoming cycle of national team football in Australia. The deal will ensure that football fans in Australia can enjoy high quality AFC competition programming alongside other compelling content in one home for football in Australia.
“We are looking forward to working with Football Australia and its broadcast partner to provide an exciting experience for their fans and viewers and to continue to grow the audience across the territory.”
The AFC also oversees club competitions such as the AFC Champions League but Australian clubs Sydney FC, Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar were withdrawn from this year's competition amid ongoing concerns over Covid-19.
SBS, the public-service broadcaster, holds rights in Australia to the 2022 World Cup finals, while telecoms firm Optus recently landed the 2023 Women’s World Cup, and is now seeking a free-to-air partner to share coverage of the tournament, to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.