Paramount Plus must pounce on EPL rights in Australia

ViacomCBS have begun broadcasting Australian football content in the past several weeks across the 10 Network and its free streaming platform 10 play, in the opening stages of the company’s $300 million investment deal into the game.

The majority of content, such as Socceroos, Matildas, A-League and W-League matches, will eventually be broadcast on the company’s SVOD service Paramount Plus in the coming months.

A revamped presentation of the game will be implemented across the new TV deal, as highlighted by the recent announcement that the Saturday night A-League broadcast shown on Channel 10 will also feature live crosses and a ‘goal rush’ type innovation involving the other simultaneous match, something which is currently seen in top league broadcasts around the world.

Fresh ideas such as this are welcomed, but ViacomCBS may need to look at further options to build rapport with fans of the round ball game in Australia.

One of those opportunities they should pursue, and strongly, is looking to secure the EPL rights off Optus Sport.

Optus Sport have held the rights since 2016, after beating out Foxtel at the time.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, English Premier League officials have begun talks with local media companies in regards to the broadcast rights to one of the world’s biggest sporting competitions.

Optus Sport’s existing deal ends at the conclusion of this season, with a blind auction in November set to decide who will show the league in the coming seasons.

ViacomCBS’s Paramount Plus is considered to be one of four candidates who are reportedly in the running to land the EPL broadcast rights, alongside current rights holders Optus Sport, Amazon Prime and Stan Sport.

The rights are expected to cost as much as $80 million a year, but that figure may be higher if there is a strong competitive process for them, which looks likely.

If the EPL was to be secured and shown on Paramount Plus, there would be significant benefits across the board for ViacomCBS and also for football in Australia.

Having both the EPL and A-League on the same service would place Paramount Plus as a must have service for the large majority of football fans in Australia.

The acquisition of the EPL would add a huge amount of value to Paramount Plus as a streaming product and bring over those fans who would not commit to the service for just A-League and W-League matches.

Their subscriber numbers would grow substantially, and a free-to-air EPL game on Channel 10 may be a strategic possibility, to draw even more people to sign up for the subscription service.

Alongside the original entertainment programming that they have on their service, Paramount Plus with the EPL and A-League rights, will go close to rivalling the bigger streaming platforms such as Netflix and Stan.

For Australian football, having both leagues together in the one place would mirror similar benefits the A-League had on Fox Sports when they also showcased live EPL broadcasts.

Most Australian football fans will remember Matchday Saturday on Fox Sports with great fondness, where A-League matches would precede EPL matches in what was a feast for football fans every week, all in one place.

The A-League peaked in popularity around that timeframe, and it’s plausible that a larger quantity of fans tuned into the local domestic competition before they would also watch EPL matches later in the night.

Administrators from the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) will be hoping a sense of deja vu occurs again, on a different platform this time around.

Packaging up the two leagues would provide cross promotional possibilities to continue to lift the profile of the A-League and may eventually convince fans of overseas clubs to also support a local team.

Turning general fans of football into A-League or W-League supporters is something that the APL have noted they are focusing on in the years to come, after unbundling from the FA.

Utilizing the advantages of having the Premier League rights on the same service may fast track those outcomes, but that is dependant on the willingness and commercial factors which decide ViacomCBS’s next moves.

However, for growth prospects in the local game and also in their own Paramount Plus streaming service, ViacomCBS may find this opportunity too good to refuse.


Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Perth looking to pave new Glory through fresh ownership

The ownership of long-standing A-League team Perth Glory has changed hands, with property mogul Ross Pelligra taking the reins.

The multi-millionaire Melbournian has pledged to Glory fans his intentions of reinvigorating the club into becoming ‘a benchmark club of Australian Football’.

The sole Western Australia club have had to earn their stripes and achievements while accommodating for difficulties, which other A-League clubs have not endured. Initially the Glory were seeking to become a National Soccer League (NSL) tenant in the mid-1970s, given the talent showcased by their state representative side. Due to financial and logistical issues, Western Australia had a football outfit, without a title.

A consortium spearheaded by Joe Claudio, founded a Perth based club, known as the Perth Kangaroos IFC. Although a licence to participate in the NSL never materialised, the club where granted entry into the Singapore Premier League (SPL). Within their maiden, and only season, the Kangaroos breezed through their competition, winning the League Title while remaining undefeated in the process.  Although there was success on the field, the wheels off the field had violently, fallen off.

Italian Australian Entrepreneur Nick Tana capitalised upon the financial failure that was the Perth Kangaroos. NSL representatives, noticing the talent pool within Western Australia given their success in Asia, combined with the potential for another Australian market, led to Perth Glory’s creation, making their debut in the 1996-97 NSL Season, taking place a full year after their materialization.

Acknowledging their early hardships yet successes, the fluctuation from Glory to of the club is somewhat built in its DNA.  Both on and off the pitch, post their success in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Perth had lost its previous ambition. It had taken the club 14 seasons to taste their first A-League Title, with two runners-up medals in A-League Finals.

The consortium that had acquired Tana’s club in 2006, were unable to eclipse the dominance of their previous owner. Recently, the club was almost pawned off to an illegitimate London-based, Cryptocurrency football exchange. Insert, Ross Pelligra.

Perth fans have reason for prosperity, as their new owner is no stranger to the football world. Historic Italian outfit Catania FC had gone into administration in 2022 culminating in all board, playing and non-playing staff to face redundancy. The club where excluded from the Serie C in 2022, with their future in limbo. Pelligra, showcasing passion for his heritage and football, acquired the club in which is the birth place of his mother, in order to save it from termination.

Pelligra and his ambitions resulted in the club swiftly reinterring the third tier of Italian Football, as the club where able to win the Serie D (Group 1), granting promotion. This man oozes passion. In comparison to football club owners on an international scale, in who do have the financial capacity, do not showcase the desire Pelligra possess, in wanting to see his outfits succeed.

To succeed in both off park stability, and on park triumph, football is within Pelligra’s fabric. It is a safe assumption, that Pelligra is not undertaking the financial pressures involved in club ownership, for monetary gain. This is heritage, this is a way of life.

But how is he going to lead Perth to Glory? What does he have within his arsenal?

His passion is combated by football brains in whom represented the Socceroos.

Asian Cup and Socceroo legend Marc Bresciano is rumoured to feature as a prominent figure under the Pelligra hierarchy within the football department. Vince Grella, who is Pelligra’s right-hand man in Catania’s 2023 Serie D Title Win, is also tipped to be involved.

The warning signals haven’t quite rung out yet, however it is best believed that Perth are looking to emphasise the Glory part of their name – the era we are about to see may just be their Glory.

Wellington Phoenix team up with Chinese outfit Tianjin Tiger

Wellington Phoenix have partnered with Chinese Super League team Tianjin Tiger to boost football growth in both nations.

As part of the Wellington Phoenix Tianjin Tiger Sister City Friendship, the clubs have agreed to hold an annual encounter between their men’s first teams.

The inaugural Wellington Phoenix F.C. vs. Tianjin Tiger F.C. Sister City Shield match is set to take place in Tianjin this September, with the second in Wellington next year.

The strategic collaboration was formed after Phoenix general manager David Dome visited Tianjin in September as part of a business delegation headed by Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau.

The club hosted a delegation from Tianjin, and the two sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the Mayor’s office.

Phoenix general manager David Dome was thrilled with the partnership going through.

“The mayoral delegation to China last year was invaluable and I’m thrilled about this partnership with Tianjin Jinmen Tiger, which will be of benefit to the club on multiple levels,” he said via press release.

“Not only will the men get to play a Chinese Super League side as part of their A-League pre-season each year, but the academy will soon benefit from an influx of footballers from Tianjin.

“We’re looking to grow our academy to have an international component and Tianjin Jinmen have committed to sending some young players to Wellington to attend training camps in July and we’re discussing the possibility of their juniors being part of a new international academy annual programme.

“International students are essential for the secondary and tertiary education sector in Wellington and we are evaluating how an elite international academy focused on football can be part of New Zealand’s international education offering.”

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau added that the city is excited about the opportunity. 

“I’d like to congratulate David Dome and the wider team for the work they’ve done on this MoU,” he stated via press release.

“I’m beyond stoked that the delegation last September has resulted in this MoU between the Wellington Phoenix and Tianjin Jinmen Tiger. 

“The development opportunities for both the clubs will be invaluable to not only football but also our cities.”

The Phoenix are enjoying a successful A-league campaign where they currently sit top of the table 18 games into the season.

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