Through an agreement with ViacomCBS, the US media giant, the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), the commercial marketing body for soccer in the country, has sealed a multi-year rights deal with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the sport's governing body in that region.
The partnership sees the APL acquire rights to AFC club competitions in Australia for the 2021-24 cycle.
Under the agreement, major AFC competitions such as the AFC Champions League, AFC Cup, and AFC Futsal Club Championship Finals will be broadcast in Australia via ViacomCBS-owned commercial broadcaster Network 10, its 10 Bold digital TV channel, and the Paramount+ streaming service.
Network Ten recently showed the AFC Women’s Asian Cup national teams competition that featured Australia.
Windsor John, general secretary at the AFC, said: “The AFC has outlined its ambitions to ensure football remains the continent’s number one sport and this agreement with the APL will further strengthen the popularity of our club competitions and grow the passion for the Asian game among Australia’s passionate fanbase.”
Ant Hearne, chief commercial officer at the APL, added: “We’re proud to work in partnership with 10 ViacomCBS and the AFC to bring even more football to Australia. There is an increasing appetite for top quality international football and this partnership enables our fans to experience some of the best in the region.”
The AFC has signed a host of rights deals across several markets for its next three-year cycle in recent months, including with ESPN across Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean, Oman Sports Channel, DAZN and TV Asahi in Japan, Football Sports Development Limited in the Indian subcontinent, OneFootball in the UK, Netherlands, Italy, Malta, and San Marino, RCTI+ in the Philippines, Abu Dhabi Media in the UAE, and M Plus in Macau.
Deals were also previously struck in the US with CBC, Fanseat in various European countries such as France, Belgium, Portugal, and the Nordic territories, LaLigaSportsTV in Spain and Andorra, StarTimes in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Saudi Sports Company in the Middle Eastern country.
In addition, the federation secured an in-flight and in-ship rights deal with Sport 24, the service owned by IMG, the international sports agency, through to 2024.