News Corporation controlled Foxtel appears set to screw over the A-League by taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to cancel its long term broadcast deal according to a report in the Australian Financial Review.
The low ball negotiation tactics has allegedly seen Foxtel offer the A-League a paltry $11m per year deal to replace the existing $57m per year deal – a massive 418% cut in the deal.
The current broadcasting deal has more than 3 years to run but it is understood Foxtel are using a clause regarding no games having been delivered for 20 days (due to the Covid-19 restrictions) to walk away from its existing contract.
Further exacerbating the situation, the FFA is contractually prevented by Foxtel from negotiating a new deal with any other parties. The FFA wants Foxtel to honour its existing contract and therefore will continue to comply with the terms of the contract so as to prevent giving Foxtel another excuse to terminate the contract.
With the whole world reeling from the impact of Covid-19, the commercial tactics of Foxtel (which is majority controlled by News Corporation which is also the owner of the Adelaide Advertiser) appears to have been to use these unfortunate circumstances to seek to renegotiate and then walk away from a long term contract. The same corporation has not walked away from the more expensive broadcast deals with AFL and Rugby. The reinforces the impression to the independent observer that there continues to be rampant anti-football discrimination in the Australian media industry led by the dominant News Corporation.
These tactics from Foxtel may single-handedly bring about the demise of the A-League which will find it difficult to survive without the revenue from the broadcasting deal. This is not the first time Australian football has been screwed over by the Australian media mafia. Back in 1998 the Australian football media rights were bought by Seven in a 10 year deal. Allegedly Seven purchased the rights to appease the AFL through not showing the National Soccer League on television. This came out in court in 2005 when Seven executive Steven Wise lamented that the AFL was not giving Seven credit that they had secured the soccer rights and suffocated the sport by not showing it on free to air television.
On Wednesday, Foxtel scrubbed all A-League and W-League content from its various platforms.. All A-League matches, highlights and features are no longer available on Kayo Sports, Foxtel Go or through the on-demand sections of Foxtel IQ boxes.
The message to all football fans from News Corporation is very clear – its time to cancel our Foxtel and/or Kayo sports subscriptions.
The only way to cancel your Foxtel service is to call them on 131-999. Be prepared for a battle because the telephone staff are well trained in preventing you from cancelling. Expect to be offered better deals to prevent you cancelling. But in the end, Foxtel are not providing you with the content that you have paid for. They are willing to walk away from a contract with 3 years run taking advantage of a global pandemic and are screwing the A-League.