You remember how this year the Matildas won over the hearts of our nation, and the world, with their amazing feats of sportsmanship and athleticism? Yeah I do too, it was the last time I’ve been happy. Well, turns out that before all that happened, Football Australia considered selling our beloved ‘Tillies back in 2020.
In an exclusive news drop from The Guardian, the publication revealed that Football Australia was looking at selling off the rights to the Matildas, as well as the Socceroos and A-Leagues in 99-year privatisation contracts.
Some of those I can deal with losing, but not the ‘Tillies.
Which begs the question, what does privatisation of a team like the Matildas even mean?
This specific deal meant that a separate entity would have ownership the rights for broadcasting of all of these properties, as well as rights over merchandise and ticket sales.
Football Australia had floated the idea of creating a new private entity that would have ownership of all their assets for 99 years. It would then have shared a majority stake in the new entity with the Australian Professional Leagues (APL), and sold the minority stake to a new investor or investors.
This hypothetical entity would be legally separate from Football Australia and the APL, though they would still have control over it and share in its profits, depending on how the investor/s chose to make a return on the massive asset.
So in reality, fans would have still been able to view their beloved Matildas and Socceroos had this deal gone through. It’s not like we wouldn’t have been able to go watch games or buy merchandise.
Though there may have been a few roadblocks added if the deal went ahead.
As part of the plans from Football Australia in this failed deal, there was the idea to develop an Australian football centred streaming service, which would have exclusive broadcasting rights and would charge users $25 a month to access. Ultimately this plan did not go through due to the risk involved, according to The Guardian.
Additionally, The Guardian reports that some aspects of the deal opened up the opportunity for commercialisation of the data of all Australian football participants.
These corporate deals have been done before, and aren’t entirely something to be afraid of.
The Matildas naming rights have been owned for 13 years by Westfield Group, until being purchased by their new naming owners resulting in the (sometimes awkward) title of “CommBank Matildas”.
While I’ll admit I never heard anyone shout, “UP THE COMMBANK ‘TILLIES!” at a match, I would have respected them for their attention to detail if they did.