Head of A-League and W-League Greg O’Rourke has revealed Football Federation Australia is just 60 days away from confirming a free to air broadcast partner.
Speaking exclusively on Friday’s Daily Football Show, O’Rourke confirmed every major free to air network is interested in securing the A-League broadcast rights, with further interest in the W-League.
O’Rourke discussed other pressing issues on the show, including expansion, the state of FFA and brand management.
He hinted the league could not expand unless the current operating model changes.
Here’s what else he had to say:
The expansion work has just about been completed, but … one of the reasons the expansion debate or expression of interest was delayed is not because it was kicked down the road, because we weren’t up for it or weren’t prepared for it, but actually a lot of work had been done which actually stood out to say that if we expand now in the existing operating model, the existing financial models in the A-League, it wouldn’t be successful.
Therefore, we then had to go back to a situation and say ‘how will expansion be successful?’ because we all want the same thing, we all want do want it to expand.
So all this work around the new operating model about how do you attract international investment, as well as local investment into an expanded A-League which makes it not only sustainable for another two clubs but for another four, another six clubs.
They actually have to apply some business acumen … it’s not just about saying ‘let’s name two geographies’, let’s get going’. it’s about saying ‘what’s the model? How does it attract?’
The operating model has to come first. The governance model and the operating model could come hand in hand. Once those two things are sorted, then expansion will be quite an easy thing to do because we know exactly what we want to do.
The FFA is not stepping away from the fact that it moves slowly … if we were to drive a strategy solely without consultation, you wouldn’t have any chance of implementing it. You have to bring in multiple stakeholders who might not agree with you 100%.
My history in the game… that’s the sort of shackles that this game has suffered for a long time, which I’m confident we’re pulling away from.
But there’s still a few anchors out the back of the boat, frankly.
On big brand management:
That name (Red Bull) has been bandied around, but I can assure you there’s another three or four big brand organisations that have reached out to us.
There’s also another three or four football brands from around the world which would be of second nature to anyone who loves the game who would go ‘really? They’re interested?’
You’ve got big brand organisations, you’ve got big football brand organisations and you’ve got quite a lot of Australian-based corporate and commercial interest.
We need to make sure that we set up something that just doesn’t tick the box of ‘yes’. I don’t want business acumen to be confused with just saying ‘yes, we’re going to expand’. I want business acument that actually reflects ‘let’s do this properly’ and that’s what we’re right in the middle of.
On the TV deal:
We’re actually right in the middle of negotiations … we’ll leave that (a deal figure) a bit open-ended.
I can confirm that we’re probably 60 days away from being able to secure and announce a free to air partner. At this point in time, I think it’s fair to say that every major commercial network in Australia and non-commercial free to air broadcaster is genuinely interested, not just against A-League, but potentially against W-League.
What’s the value? The market will determine that and the negotiations between us and the free to air people will determine that, but we’re no more than two months away from being able to lock that away.