Those working towards a second division ‘Championship’ - set to start in 2021 - believe streaming of matches could supercharge the league’s profile as work continues on the league's finer details.
A second division now appears a fait accompli.
The FFA board is set to make a formal announcement around timelines in coming days after it's said they endorsed the second division concept over the last week.
And with FFA board member Remo Nogarotto an influential champion of the league, proponents are licking their lips at the prospect of a second-tier league under the A-League by 2021.
But the question of broadcast and other key elements remain points for discussion and speculation as the process continues.
With profile in mind, streaming matches on platforms such as Facebook Live and YouTube could be the way to go, says Rabieh Krayem.
“You can see now with the number of live streams of games in the NPL, in all states.
"There is significant interest in those games,” Krayem, a proponent of the league and a key member of the working party on the Championship, told FTBL.
“There’s no doubt fans want to see these games on their various devices anywhere they are.
“If it’s a good game, it’s good content and they’ll want to watch a stream of it anywhere in the world, not just in Australia."
Given the current concerns about Foxtel's commitment to funding its live sport moving forward - and how that relates to the A-League - streaming of content is very much part of the football and broadcast conversation.
“The beauty of streaming is that it reflects the evolving needs of the market," added Krayem.
“I like many fans can check various streams on weekends to see various NPL matches around the country.
"Our viewing habits have changed and you’ve got to cater to what the market wants.”
The question, of course, is how to monetize content streamed on such platforms.
It may drive eyeballs to the product, but when a league gives away its content - unlike a pay-TV deal with a broadcaster such as FoxSports paying FFA for the rights to the A-League, for example - and the league isn’t paid by the online streaming service and must pay for their own advertising in broadcast, then questions over viability come into play.
The league, in this case, would need its own digital teams to collaborate with a production house to produce the live streams. This costs money.
Coverage could become part of a bundle with an established telco, such as the Optus or Telstra app. But again, the product must be produced by someone and that costs money.
The FFA Cup has been live streamed by Fox Sports in the past. And Football Victoria is another prime example of streaming football.
Since 2017, NPL Victoria has enjoyed great success with Facebook Live and simulcasts on YouTube using their own in house digital producers in collaboration with streaming providers.
Streaming, broadcasting and a myriad of other questions remain as the finer points of the league continue to be discussed and debated.
Issues such as the broader financial model, who manages the league and how to mesh the calendar in relation to a club promoted from a winter NPL (finishing in September) to a summer Championship continue to be thrashed out.
With that in mind, Krayem didn’t rule in or out a winter Championship.
“It could be [NPL promotion] for the following year. The feedback so far with the clubs has been a preference for a summer Championship.
“Nothing is 100% across the line. You can’t rule out anything at this stage.
“But everyone agrees there needs to be a promotion and relegation between the second and third tiers.”
Krayem also agrees that without powerful backing from FFA board member Remo Nogarotto, the Championship may well still be stuck on the grid.
The FFA-endorsed Second Division Working Group, headed up by Nogarotto, with Krayem as its deputy chair, believe their day will arrive with patience being the key.
“I don’t know if we’d be in the position we are today if the board hadn’t changed. I didn’t have to convince Remo, he’s always been a believer in a second division,” said Krayem.