Hyundai A-League owners discuss future

All 10 Hyundai A-League clubs have discussed the outlook for the competition ahead of a new broadcast agreement at an Owners Forum in Melbourne today.

All 10 Hyundai A-League clubs have discussed the outlook for the competition ahead of a new broadcast agreement at an Owners Forum in Melbourne today.

The three-hour forum, chaired by FFA Deputy Chairman and Hyundai A-League Committee Chairman Brian Schwartz AM, covered a wide range of issues including:

• Financial sustainability • Broadcast rights environment • Smith Review • Strategic decision-making affecting the Hyundai A-League

FFA CEO Ben Buckley said the forum was a robust and constructive exchange of ideas and views between the governing body and the club owners.

“A key priority identified by the Owners Forum is the need to develop a model that allows a club to operate with a balanced budget that relieves owners from the need to fund deficits,” said Mr Buckley.

“Football needs to live within its means and address the growing pains being experienced after rapid expansion of FFA-s activities since 2004, particularly in regards to the national competition.

“Our top priority is reducing then eliminating the operating deficits incurred by most Hyundai A-League clubs and we believe we have a model that will create the environment for clubs to reach that target of sustainability.”

The Owners Forum was briefed on the recommendations of the Smith Review into Australian football.

“In line with the Smith recommendations, the FFA Board and management will collaborate with the A-League clubs to improve the formal structured opportunities for Owners to contribute to decision making,” said Mr Buckley.

The Owners Forum also discussed the establishment of working groups on stadium arrangements and community engagement.

In relation to the new broadcast rights agreement, due to commence no later than June 2013, the Owners Forum was briefed on the latest talks and the increasingly positive environment for football content rights.

"The big upswing in Hyundai A-League match attendances, TV viewership, club memberships and digital audiences shows there are millions of Australians who are passionate and engaged with football," said Mr Buckley.

"There is no better way to show the value of our broadcast rights than with the current numbers."

The Hyundai A-League has been buoyed by the following average increases for the 2011/12 season including:

• Crowds up by 44 per cent • Memberships increased by 17 per cent • TV audiences increased by 62 per cent • The Hyundai A-League-s digital presence and engagement up 9 per cent • Merchandise sales up 10 per cent