Simon Hill goes nuclear on Fox Sports as A-League broadcasting cold war rages

Jamie Dunkin
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Simon Hill has gone nuclear on his former employers in an impassioned rant.
Simon Hill has gone nuclear on his former employers in an impassioned rant. Credit: Jonathan DiMaggio / Getty Images

Australia’s leading football commentator Simon Hill has blasted his former employer Fox Sports in a stunning rant, following another tumultuous few months in the domestic game.

The A-Leagues have seen a difficult few years following the pandemic, with the clubs voting to leave Football Australia and opt for an English Premier League-style club-lead governance under the Australian Professional Leagues (APL).

The league was slowly frozen out of its deal with former broadcaster Fox Sports over three years, before the APL signed off on a sizable deal with Network 10 which saw free-to-air matches weekly on 10 Bold, with the remainder available on Paramount Plus. Football Australia soon followed with the Socceroos and Matildas moving with the domestic league to Network 10.

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Over the last few months, Code Sports, a sister entity to Fox Sports, has published countless articles decrying the current broadcasters for poor coverage and letting the game down - something Hill has implied as highly hypocritical in a rant on his radio show The Global Game.

Most recently, Code published an article criticising the league and broadcaster for putting the second-leg fixture between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory behind a paywall on Paramount Plus. Hill dismissed this criticism and went back through life under the old broadcast deal.

“A reminder that in the last broadcast deal, ABC showed all finals on a two-hour delay, and all live finals, including the grand final, were behind a paywall on Fox. Talking of which, even if they were interested, do fans really want to go back to the previous broadcaster?” Hill asked on air.

Hill, who leads the current commentary team for the A-Leagues at Network 10, went through the back catalogue of woes and issues during Fox’s time broadcasting the domestic leagues, arguing the Murdoch network’s coverage of the game gives them little right to criticise the current broadcasters.

“The same network who used a global pandemic to tear up a contract they willingly signed up to?”

“The same network who first bullied then ignored the game almost completely for three years? And is now suddenly concerned about its welfare?”

Hill concluded his impassioned speech by remarking that while you could level many accusations against the current broadcaster, “wilful damage” was not among them.

The A-League Women Grand Final two weeks prior was available on free-to-air via 10 Bold, reaching 279,000 in a competition record as Sydney FC beat Melbourne City in Victoria.

The A-League Men is similarly ramping up, with both semi-final second legs playing out this weekend, as Central Coast Mariners take a 2-1 lead against Sydney back with them to Gosford, and Wellington Phoenix welcome Melbourne Victory to New Zealand in front of a sell-out crowd.

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