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FFA to explore new digital models after commercial surge

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Football Federation Australia will turn its attention to its digital strategy following a host of new and renewed sponsor agreements in 2016, most recently with TAG Heuer and Saba.

Luxury watch brand TAG Heuer has signed a four-year partnership, becoming the official timekeeper of theSocceroos. It will supply a line of watches to the national team as part of the deal.

The partnership, which will run until at least 2020, also includes an advertising tie-in with the FFA’s broadcast partner, Fox Sports.

The Swiss watchmaker has an existing presence in Australian football, as a sponsor of both the A-League’s Brisbane Roar and the International Champions Cup off-season tournament.

Premium clothing brand Saba, meanwhile, has joined the FFA as official outfitter of both theSocceroos and the Matildas. The four-year deal is the Australian retailer’s first foray into sport.

The two deals continue the FFA’s strong growth in 2016 – in recent months the code has signed Caltex to fill its long-term Socceroos naming rights void, and also signed new deals with Continental Tyres and Destination NSW.

Key partners including Qantas and NAB have also extended their alliances, and the FFA is also closing in on a renewal with A-League title sponsor Hyundai, which will open up the car-maker category to clubs for the first time.

FFA head of commercial, Luke Bould, told Sponsorship News the code was now set to turn its attention to potential changes to its digital commercialisation strategy.

Any changes to digital will be in tandem with the FFA’s broadcast agreement, which expires at the end of next A-League season. Currently the FFA’s streaming rights and digital rights are separate, a model that rival sports have left behind.

The FFA is close to appointing two separate agencies to work on its coming broadcast negotiations, one in a strategic role and one in an evaluation capacity. London-based consultancy Oliver & Ohlbaum worked with the FFA on valuation research earlier this year.

“The AFL and [to an extent] NRL models, where they produce their own content and control their own destiny, is an attractive one… Whether [the FFA] can make the leap from doing very little of that to doing all of it can be achieved is something we’re working on,” said Bould.

“The reality is that we are behind other codes and behind what best-practice looks like with our digital channels – our apps and our websites network,” said Bould.

“We know our target audience is far more likely to engage with the game through digital channels than fans of other sports, and that gives us a fair indication of where we should be putting our resources.”

Bould said he was confident that there would be competitive tension amongst potential digital partners – Telstra is a current sponsor of the FFA and four A-League clubs, while Optus and challenger telco OVO have both been active in the sports rights space.

© 2016 Australian Sponsorship News | This article  first appeared on Australian Sponsorship News on 30 March 2016.

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