New A-Leagues reveal Australian soccer competitions’ unified front

Changes afoot in soccer include Isuzu’s name sponsorship of men’s competition and initiatives that will boost women’s comp

The A-League men’s football competition has officially become the Isuzu UTE A-League Men after Isuzu signed on as the men’s competition's first naming rights partner in a three-year contract.

The first Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s match kicks off on 19 November 2021. The Isuzu UTE Australia (IUA) partnership also includes naming rights for the A-League Men’s Finals Series and a role as Official Automotive Partner of all A-League teams, including A-Leagues’ Men’s, Women’s, Youth and E-Sports.  

The sponsorship follow’s IUA’s recently announced content deal with ViacomCBS’ Network Ten across free-to-air and its new streaming service, Paramount+. IUA’s sponsorship portfolio includes Surf Lifesaving Australia and Isuzu’s own Local Sports sponsorship Fund for grassroots clubs.  

‘A-Leagues' is the new brand aiming to cast men’s and women’s elite soccer competitions as partners at the top of the bill. The banner also extends to youth football. The united competitions will be found together on a newly relaunched website along with unified social media channels for men’s and women’s football on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. 

“This is just the beginning of our ambitious long-term vision for the growth of football in Australia,” said A-Leagues managing director, Danny Townsend. “It’s not men’s football, or women’s football, it’s just football. We’re committed to growing the game in Australia – for everyone.” 

In another move to bring fans of men’s and women’s games together, Australian Professional Leagues (APL) has also launched a ‘Club Championship’. At the end of men’s and women’s seasons, the club with the most combined points, rather than a team, will win the Club Championship trophy. 

Townsend, also managing director of APL, earlier announced initiatives to drive forward the women’s game, formerly known as W-League, which is in its 14th season. These include adding three teams – Wellington Phoenix, Central Coast Mariners and Western United FC – to the competition ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

A yet-to-be-finalised, expanded timetable will mean A-League women’s teams will have more games and opportunities for elite women players. The expansion includes the first new teams since 2015 and an extra preliminary final. 

“This is a sustained investment program in women’s football,” said Townsend. “We want to unleash football’s potential in Australia and this is a significant step forward in delivering the future the game deserves.” 

Behind these initiatives, a long-term collective bargaining agreement is being finalised by APL and Professional Footballers Australia to lift standards and investment in players across the women’s game.

Read more: Covid has changed sports marketing

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