Why the Network 10/Paramount Plus deal can help the A-Leagues reach its potential

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We’re only one year into a five-year broadcast deal, but the signs are promising for the A-Leagues’ newest partner.

It was clear from the very first round that it is going to be different in the league’s fresh collaboration with Channel 10. The derby between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers attracted a total of 146,000 viewers nationally.

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While this is still a markedly lower figure than say the Supercars Championship (297k) that aired in the same period, that figure still represents the highest ratings’ result achieved in a non-finals A-League Men match.

The current deal represents a major step-up from the prior format, which saw the public broadcaster ABC televising one match per week and the rest locked away on Fox Sports.

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The current deal now has two games on free-to-air per week (one ALM and one ALW game), meaning double the exposure. And as for Paramount Plus, the simple fact of the matter is that their subscription fee is far cheaper than Fox Sports or its sports streaming service Kayo, coming in at just $8.99 a month.

With a global subscriber count well into the tens of millions, Paramount certainly has the means and the ability to push their product, the league now needs to show that they’re worthy of being pushed.

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Perhaps it’s time to embrace the power of Tik Tok, or otherwise engage further with a wider audience to promote the brand. With five seasons of football locked-in to the contract, the organisation has time (although not unlimited amounts of it) to build something for the future.

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With it’s significant market capitalisation and overall consumer base, Paramount Plus has the chance to become a significant player in the Australian sports and entertainment landscape. With a catalogue that extends well beyond sport, the company has the opportunity to bring new casual fans to the A-Leagues, which will be the fundamentally important factor in determining how far the league can grow.

The die-hard, rusted-on fans will always be there almost no matter what, James Johnson and Football Australia need to think bigger if they want the league to reach its potential.

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Casual fans bring new dollars and new interest to the league, and the sport becoming far more accessible is the key ingredient to giving them a chance to come on board.

The A-Leagues, in both the men’s and women’s variety, has a fantastic opportunity in front of it. The question now becomes, can they make the most of it?

Feature Image Credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Mitchell Turner
Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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