Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bundesliga comes to Ten’s ‘One HD’

Channel Ten have revealed that their 24-hour free-to-air sports channel, One HD, will be covering Germany’s top flight football competition, the Bundesliga, this season. Starting with a game between newly promoted Nuremburg and Schalke at 11:30pm this Saturday night - One will show a Bundesliga game live in High Definition every week.

Until now, I have been quite critical of One’s apparent ‘no-football policy’. It was quite poor to see a dedicated sports channel showing everything from AFL to paintball, but leaving out the world’s biggest game. In their defence, this may have had something to do with the rights to most football around the world already being held, but in any case to see them spend some cash on European football is a very good sign (just how much they would have paid is an interesting question – Setanta, who would have agreed to sh are their Bundesliga rights, are desperate for cash at the moment). Let’s hope we see even more football on One HD soon, the way Ten announced their coverage as ‘our first major European football league’ certainly suggests there may be more to come.

A lack of football coverage for those without pay-television has long been an issue in Australia, but consider what football will be shown on free-tv in the next 12 months:

One HD:
- 30+ Bundesliga games

- 25+ UEFA Champions League games
- UEFA Europa league
- FIFA Club World Cup
- FIFA Under 20 World Cup (and other FIFA tournaments)
- A selection of other football, with many games on Sunday afternoons
- Not to forget next year’s World Cup… 64 more matches

- W-league

In fact, there will probably be more football on FTA TV in the next year than there will be any other sport. Pretty impressive considering how much more football is on pay-television.

Of course the obvious problem is that Socceroos matches and the A-league are still exclusively on Fox Sports. Bundesliga matches late on Saturday nights will be great, but I still look forward to the day when we see local football on FTA TV during primetime. Perhaps with One HD showing some interest in football, the money that the FFA gets from TV rights will significantly rise when they are next negotiated. I’m hoping that with a high price, comes some level of FTA coverage.