Free-to-Air football gets a major sponsor

Harvey Norman was previously a key sponsor of the State of Origin series - Cameron Spencer

The A-League has a three-year deal with retailer Harvey Norman to sponsor Friday night football for AU$1m per season.

Friday night football is getting a marquee sponsorship as SBS and FOX combine to provide free-to-air matches starting this season. Harvey Norman has agreed to pay AU$1m per season for three years to sponsor Friday night games, giving it a nice platform in the A-League's only free-to-air time slot, according to a report in today's Daily Telegraph.

Harvey Norman is a multi-billion dollar, Australian-based retailer that was most well known in sporting circles for its fifteen year sponsorship of the famed State of Origin rugby series. While the money is not exorbitant, it is a good first arrangement for the A-League's foray into free-to-air television.

The State of Origin, which mutually terminated its arrangement with Harvey Norman last year, is now garnering AU$5m per year in a deal with Holden, the car manufacturer. Clearly that kind of money for just a best-of-three series, is far more significant than what Harvey Norman will be paying the A-League a season's worth of Friday night games. Still, a big name sponsorship with a multi-year deal is a strong statement of the league's growing interest level in the business community. Consistent free-to-air games are expected to greatly increase viewership which should, in turn, provide bigger and better sponsorship deals in future seasons.

Harvey Norman's sponsorship debut will come on Friday October 11 when Sydney FC host Newcastle Jets at the Allianz Stadium.

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