Australian Football Fans left frustrated as Free-To-Air Broadcasters fail to strike deal for 2019 Asian Cup

Can the Socceroos defend their Asian Cup crown?
image source - Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Football fans have taken to social media to express their frustration at not being able to watch Australia’s defence of the Asian Cup on free-to-air television.

Fox Sports holds exclusive rights to the tournament which begins this weekend.

The pay-tv broadcaster acquired the rights to the tournament as part of a broader multi-year deal which includes World Cup Qualifiers and Asian Champions League matches.

Fox Sports was able to secure the rights via direct negotiations with the Asian Football Confederation. While many local supporters are venting their frustration at Football Federation Australia, the domestic body had no direct role in the negotiations.

The Asian Cup tournament is not included in the Federal Governments anti-syphoning list, meaning Fox Sports is not compelled to negotiate simulcast rights with a local free-to-air broadcaster.

While dedicated football fans are now familiar with needing a subscription with providers such as Foxtel or Optus Sport to follow football tournaments, it’s the more casual viewer which is more likely to miss the action.

It appears no local free-to-air broadcaster was willing to invest in the tournament, this despite Australia’s 2015 victory being watched by a national average audience of 1.8 million viewers on the ABC.

In the lead-up to the 2015 event, the ABC was slammed by News Corp publications for investing taxpayer funds into the broadcast rights.

The cheapest price to access the Asian Cup tournament is via Foxtel’s newest streaming product Kayo at $25 per month on a no lock-in contract.

Fox Sports will broadcast every game of the tournament LIVE, ad-break free during play and in HD.

Hosts Adam Peacock and Tara Rushton will be joined by a revolving panel of experts including Mark Bosnich, Robbie Slater, John Kosmina and Archie Thompson in the Sydney studio to preview the tournament.

Respected football commentators, Simon Hill and Brenton Speed, football expert Daniel Garb, former Socceroo Sasa Ognenovski and Australian football legend Andy Harper will be on the ground in the UAE to cover the action.

The Socceroo’s will begin their title defence against Jordan on Sunday, January 6, before taking on Palestine on Friday, January 11 and Syria on Wednesday, January 16

The knock-out stages of the Asian Cup will see the top 16 teams battle it out over three big days from January 21-23. Sixteen teams become eight when the quarter-finals get underway on January 25, before the top four fight it out in the semi-finals on January 29 and 30.

All games LIVE, ad-break free during play and in HD on FOX SPORTS 505
Fox Sports is available in Australia via Foxtel and Kayo