SBS could reap up to $40 million in advertising revenue from the World Cup in Brazil, as the broadcaster aims to better the average 350,000 viewers it attracted each match during the last tournament.
Advertisers have been lining up to cash in on one of the biggest sporting events in the world, despite the time zone difference, which puts most of the live games at early hours of the morning in Australia. The Socceroos' opening game against Chile on Saturday morning at 8am averaged 1.74 million metropolitan viewers.
SBS has already signed up six partners for the World Cup; Nike, Samsung, TPG Telecom, carmakers Hyundai and Kia, and gambling company TAB. It is understood that these partnerships were in the market for around $3.75 million each, taking the total to $22.5 million.
The network, which has broadcast the World Cup for more than 20 years, is understood to have paid $30 million for the rights to the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, all things being equal, making this year's rights around $10 million.
Spot advertising packages
On top of the revenue generated from its six partners, SBS will also look to benefit from spot advertising packages for games and associated content, Chris Nolan, chief executive of media agency Starcom MediaVest, said. "With the six partners, that would suggest they'd get about $22.5 million, and for spot packages, the rule of thumb used to be you might write half of that again, so that would suggest they would be targeting $35 million to $40 million," Mr Nolan said.
The entire World Cup tournament, as well as all qualifiers involving Australia, are on the government's anti-siphoning list, despite efforts from Foxtel and ASTRA lobbying the federal government to have them removed. Foxtel had held rights to Socceroos qualifying matches, before they were placed on the anti-siphoning list by former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy when the deal ended in 2013.
Despite the time difference, precedence set at previous World Cup's is giving SBS confidence it can deliver strong audience numbers for live matches.
In 2010, an average of 1.1 million viewers across five capital cities tuned in to watch Germany rout the Socceroos 4-0, which had a kick-off time of 4.30am across the east coast.
Throughout the entire tournament, SBS attracted an average of 350,000 viewers per games across capital cities, with a peak at 1.4 million for its coverage of Australia v Ghana.
The major advertisers will be tied to all 64 live games on SBS, with special priority given to Australia's matches, SBS director of media sales Andrew Cook said. "Advertisers also wanted to be a part of things outside the games, which is why we have our Aussie focus show, our full Brazil show and our World Cup show at night, as well as some of the social side of Rio, in terms of other content," Mr Cook said.
SBS holds exclusive live and replay rights for the entire cup. Matches will broadcast to standard definition and high definition, as well as streamed live and on-demand on desktop computers as well as tablets. SBS's World Game app will allow viewers to watch matches at different camera angles.
"We know, the World Cup is on for a month, people support Australia and generally another team because of the cultural makeup of Australia," Mr Cook said.
"From an audience point of view, it's such a big event, we're expecting good quality audiences, similar or better than South Africa," he said.
The 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to be held in Russia and Qatar offer slightly more favourable time zones for SBS, who have retained exclusive broadcasting rights in a deal believed to be worth $40 million.
"There's a direction relation between audience and what you can sell the product for, the time zone will limit the audience potential of the property," Mr Nolan said.
"The World Cup in a better time zone could deliver audiences comparable to the Commonwealth Games, if not greater."
The broadcaster will also reap the benefits of deals made with the Hoyts, Village, Birch Carroll & Coyle and Event cinema groups. The public will be able to purchase tickets for matches to be broadcast in cinemas.