IMG succeeds Lagardère with deal to market A-League rights
IMG, the international sports and entertainment company owned by WME, the Hollywood talent agency, has signed an international media rights deal with Football Federation Australia, the national governing body for soccer, in which IMG gains the right to market the top-tier Hyundai A-League, plus the women’s Westfield W-League and the knock-out Westfield FFA Cup, to broadcasters around the world for six years from the 2017-18 season.
The deal also covers selected Caltex Socceroos and Westfield Matildas men’s and women’s national team matches.
The deal replaces FFA’s existing agreement with IMG’s rival Lagardère Sports, which began in 2005.
FFA said: “The IMG agreement complements FFA’s new domestic broadcast arrangements made with FOX SPORTS, Foxtel and News Corp in December 2016. The final part of FFA’s broadcast rights, a commercial free to air deal the Ten Network, was recently announced.”
David Gallop, FFA’s chief executive, said: “Australian football has never been seen by more people around the world. This deal with IMG provides more funds to invest in the game and will help to enhance the reputation of the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League, and our national teams around the world.”
Chris Guinness, senior vice president, IMG Media, Asia, said: “Football in Australia is continuing to enjoy an upward curve in terms of quality and interest from around the world with many players from more established leagues now playing their trade in the A-League. We are delighted to have entered into this new partnership with the FFA, amidst very strong interest, and are looking forward to helping them grow media coverage and awareness of Australian football.”
The Hyundai A-League was established in 2004 as a successor to the National Soccer League and is contested by 10 teams; nine based in Australia and one in New Zealand.
Ten Network, the Australian commercial broadcaster, landed the free-to-air rights to the A-League and national team friendly matches, earlier this month.
In a deal with FFA and Fox Sports, the pay-TV broadcaster that signed a new six-year A$346-million ($255-million) rights contract with the governing body in December, Ten's One channel will simulcast the Saturday night A-League fixture plus all finals live for the next two seasons.
Free-to-air rights to Socceroos friendlies are also included from 2018.
Ten bought the sub-licensed free-to-air rights for around A$2 million per year, according to The Australian newspaper.