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Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive Ben Buckley has hailed the “hard work” carried out by the A-League’s clubs and management after the opening week of the 2012-13 season set new single-round records for attendance, TV ratings and digital audiences.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief executive Ben Buckley has hailed the “hard work” carried out by the A-League’s clubs and management after the opening week of the 2012-13 season set new single-round records for attendance, TV ratings and digital audiences.

Boosted by the arrival of marquee names such as Alessandro Del Piero, the FFA has announced that Round 1 of the season drew 93,500 fans to the five matches, beating the previous single-round aggregate record set in Round 3 last season of 87,508. Television audiences have also surged with an average of 108,000 per game making the 2012-13 opener the highest-rating single round TV audience of all-time. The FFA said these figures mark an increase of over 35% on audiences from last season and up 38% on the corresponding round from the 2011-12 campaign. The figures come with the A-League expected to unveil a new domestic TV deal this month. The Australian newspaper reports that the new agreement is set to be worth A$35-40 million (US$35.7-40.8 million).

Visits to the FFA digital network of club and A-League websites was up 25% on last season’s first round record, seeing 107,000 unique browsers on A-League content over the period Friday night to Sunday afternoon. “The weekend’s audience figures show that the 2012-13 Hyundai A-League is living up to its billing as the most anticipated season in the A-League’s history,” said Buckley.

He continued: “The huge audience growth in attendances, TV and digital is an early dividend for the hard-work by our 10 clubs and the A-League management. The excitement generated by new marquee players and new coaches has been converted into fans on the terraces and viewers on screens. What they saw was high-quality football, superb sports entertainment and a fabulous football atmosphere.”

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