Summer Series: Why 10 thinks they scored a goal with the A-League

A League

• Mediaweek looks back at the most notable stories of 2021

In May, ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand and the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) announced a landmark media partnership deal. The five-year agreement gives Australian football the greatest reach it has ever had. Every Saturday night during the season the A-League’s match of the round is broadcast live at 7:30pm on 10. 10 Bold will broadcast a Westfield W-League match live every Sunday of the league. All free-to-air matches will also be simulcast on 10 Play. Finally, A-League and Westfield W-League games will be available on Paramount+.

Speaking to Mediaweek in November, 10 ViacomCBS sports sales director Nick Bower said “We’ve been able to see audiences really respond to the way 10 ViacomCBS does football.”

Nov 19: “A fraction of the price”: Why 10 thinks they scored a goal with the A-League

By Trent Thomas

The 2021/22 A-League season is kicking into gear from Friday, November 19. The Reigning A-League Men champions Melbourne City are welcoming Brisbane Roar to AAMI Park in the first game of the season. This marks a new chapter for the sport as it is the first game under the new TV rights deal that the sport signed with 10 ViacomCBS which sees games played on Channel 10, 10 Bold, and Parmount+.

Ahead of the season launch, Mediaweek spoke to Nick Bower, 10 ViacomCBS sports sales director about how 10 plans to utilise this new TV deal to benefit both the broadcaster and the sport.

Nick Bower

“Any network has got a strong interest in the power of live sport,” said Bower. “Traditionally, our live sport has been major events that have captured the hearts of that nationalistic audience like the Melbourne Cup and Australian Grand Prix. To get a consistent, large sport that has built an audience over time and has a lot of content week in week out is something that wasn’t within the 10 stable of sports. Looking at football, here’s an opportunity for us to build a really strong, consistent sport within our platforms. We think there’s a huge opportunity to grow the sport as well.”

viacomcbs a-league

After spending its entire existence on Foxtel, the A-League has a new home for the first time with one game a week on Chanel 10, and every game of the season on Paramount+, while two games of the A-League Women will air every Sunday on 10 Bold. Bower said that this new deal will see the A-Leauge more available at a lower cost for consumers while also growing the sport through free-to-air exposure on commercial TV.

“Paramount+ is a fraction of the price of what Foxtel was previously. We believe at 10, everybody gets a ticket to 10 sports. The fact that it’s more accessible now across 10 is going to be fantastic. Those free to air anchor points really do give us the broad reach, and help to start to grow the sport and give people more access to the sport itself.

“We’re leveraging our digital platforms now as well. 10 Play is already going really strongly with our football content to date. But of course, we’re launching into the wonderful world of Paramount+ and that fantastic streaming service that will be full of incredibly engaging content. But now also with live sport thanks to the football deals that we have done.”

The sponsors for 10 and Paramouint+’s coverage this season includes Isuzu Ute, Harvey Norman, McDonald’s, Neds, and Mate, while CommBank will sponsor the Matilda’s coverage along with their sponsorship of the team itself. Bower said the sponsorship for this year’s coverage was a mix of old sponsors from its time on Foxtel and new sponsors.

“We spent a lot of time to really understand why the sport itself was a good one for us. At 10 ViacomCBS, things like diversity and inclusion are really, really important. They’re not just words on a wall, but they actually help shape our strategic decisions, and picking out football as an acquisition is no different. It’s a truly global game with a local footprint but that global audience resides here in Australia, and we think a massive opportunity to talk to that audience that perhaps some of the other mainstream sports haven’t been talking to. When you look at not just diversity being people from different backgrounds, but also the fact that it really does put female sport at the front and centre.

“Once we understood that was a right call for us as an acquisition, all of a sudden, we start to understand how we want to position this in market. We’ve played strong to those themes of diversity and inclusion and the fact that it’s got an enormous large participation base and a foundation of audience that we can tap into. We’re talking to them with the right tonality, given that focus on diversity inclusion, and the market has really leant forward into that.”

When asked what his expectations are for the broadcaster’s first year of coverage, Bower said that the early signs are that 10 is in for a successful season.

“We’ve been able to see audiences really respond to the way 10 Viacom CBS does football. They love it. If you see our beautiful 10 ViacomCBS home of football promo that’s been running around, you start to see the effort and investment that’s going into the game itself. And that’s starting to resonate with fans.”

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