December 6 – Australia’s 10 team A-League is set to add another two teams and perhaps more, according to reports in Australia.
Currently in the final throes of negotiating a new TV deal broadcasters have been asked to bid for the current 10-team rights but to submit a separate bid for a 12-team league.
A-League boss Greg O’Rourke told Australian newspaper the Herald Sun that a plan for the expansion of the league would be unveiled in February 2017. That would likely include the addition of two new teams for the 2018/19 season.
Expansion would not stop there though, with O’Rourke saying: “FFA was investigating how and when the A-League could house 14-18 teams.”
Any expansion of the league is expected to go hand-in-hand with improved television deals, both in terms of commitment of rights fees and broadcast exposure.
The new TV deal would start next season and the Football Federation Australia said that most free-to-air broadcast networks had expressed an interest in the rights, as well as Optus and BeInSports.
The A-League, run by the FFA, has some strong and well-funded clubs playing including Melbourne City FC, part of the City Football Group of clubs that includes Manchester city in England, New York City FC and Japan’s Yokohama. Australia hosted the last AFC Cup, which it won in 2015, and its professional women’s game has taken hold with Melbourne City FC winning the league in their inaugural season under the impressive leadership and commitment of Lisa de Vanna.
In a fiercely competitive local sports market, the FFA now looks to have developed a league product that is ready to expand, both in terms of commercial opportunity and market demand for top league football.
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