Yesterday the Football Federation of Australia announced a $160 million deal over four years that will not only help stabilise the financial future of the game, but will give millions of Australians who don’t have pay television the opportunity to see how far our national competition has progressed over the last few years.

Before there was Bozza, Slater and Adam Peacock we received our football fix from two guys on the least watch channel in the land SBS the vault of knowledge that is Les Murray and his passionate offsider the late Johnny Warren.  For many years I watched these two cover Football from all over the World thru my poor quality Country reception.  Like so many people of my generation this was my only window of opportunity to see ‘The World Game’.

While I think the new television offer is great, and may appeal to the masses I don’t think it has gone far enough.  We look at our two major sports in this Country and see the AFL and NRL having a money fight ala Monty Burns and Waylon Smithers of Simpsons fame.  The disparity between the other two codes is significant and a stark reminder of how far we still have to go in this Country.  It will be interesting to see the new deal Cricket Australia are able to negotiate whether it’s comparative to our new football deal, given both are fighting for summer supremacy.

The Friday night concept is something that I like most about this deal.  When the A League deal starts it will be late 2013 and live sport has become more of a right in our times, not a luxury that is was back in the good old days of Murray/Warren.  We will see a spike in viewer numbers, but it won’t be as high as expected.  Even in our multicultural society we live, football (or SOKKAR) is still a dirty word in some households.

The Socceroos games will be well received by the older generations of viewers, but given the importance of our next few qualifiers I can a majority of mates with Foxtel or the local pub being a better source of action in an effort to watch these games live.  The highlights package will give the league a huge boost, giving those the opportunity to watch the best of the action on a weekly show, and might even encourage those who haven’t yet to get to an actual live game of football.

Overall the deal is a stepping stone towards the future of the league, and has secured those in power more time to grow our great game.  Talks of FA Cup style competition and promotion and relegation can now be discussed but are still many years away.

Outgoing chief Ben Buckley has managed to stabilise the future of the league, but it’s more like flying to Mount Everest to visit the summit.  The baton has been passed to David Gallop now to maintain this momentum and continue our climb to Everest.