New A-League Club's Name Could Cost FFA A$5M In TV Rights
A decision by A-League expansion side Western United not to incorporate the word "Melbourne" in its name could cost Football Federation Australia A$5M ($3.5M) in annual TV rights after it "opened the door for Fox Sports to challenge its obligation to increase broadcast payments," according to Dominic Bossi of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Fox Sports is reportedly "seeking to avoid paying" a 9% increase on its broadcast deal in June '21 despite being "contractually obliged" to contribute an additional A$5M if two new teams were introduced to the A-League from Sydney and Melbourne. However, several sources suggested the pay-TV provider is intending to withhold the revenue increase after the newest A-League side announced last week that it would compete under the name "Western United Football Club." It is understood representatives of Fox Sports argued to FFA that in "not being associated by name with Melbourne, Western United cannot be viewed as a team from the Victorian capital, rather as a regional club." FFA issued a "stern response to Fox Sports, arguing the name does not diminish its association" with Melbourne, citing Australian Football League side Western Bulldogs as an example. FFA reportedly "hoped to kill off the argument entirely" by pushing the new club to include the word "Melbourne" or references to the city in its yet-to-be-released logo. Sources said that FFA is "continuing to lobby the group to adapt a stronger association with the city before entering the competition" (SMH, 2/21).