I'm sure that O'Neill and Lowy did try and negotiate some sort of package for free-to-air coverage, but given the uncertainty considering the actual demand and value of a contract it would have been a very difficult sell for them to make.Generator said:The point is that if this is meant to be the future of football in this country, then some degree of free to air coverage beyond that of goal highlights as shown within a sporting brief is necessary. The creation of a highlights package is all that is needed, and that a deal allowing for such a programme to be aired hasn't been negotiated is just... It beggars belief. If they want the competition to succeed, then they should be trying to expose the game to as many people as possible, no matter the cost. I do realise that nobody may have wanted the free to air rights of the league as a whole and that a highlights package from Foxtel wouldn't exactly be cheap for any station yet alone SBS, but it's something that the competition needs, and it's something that the new administration should have considered and acted in favour of long ago.
Fox Sports already has a huge number of subscribers who stated that Premiership and Champions League football are reasons for signing on, so they already have an establsihed football base of viewers to cater for.
And that's the thing, from a marketing stanpoint we've never really seen the demand for football viewing in this country be high enough to be considered anything more than a niche market and most stations wouldn't be willing to pick up the rights if it won't have the mainstream appeal of other football codes.
At the moment we'd be about the level of Super 12 Rugby from an optimistic viewpoint. So unless the League can pull in the crowd numbers and the dosh I belive that allowing it to establish itself on Cable in the short-run is an important step.
I don't believe Fox Sports will be letting an investment like this go under, they'll invest a lot of money into the game and are already suing their contacts and influence withing the media to promotew the game. Give it a couple of seasons and if the League is a decent success a bigger station will be happy to pick it up and run with it.