The big win out of Thursday's draw announcement for the A-League Men and A-League Women competitions, which start on Oct. 22 and Oct. 14 respectively, was the decision to reduce the timeslot which is unpopular with fans, players and coaches in equal measure.
Kick-off times became a key talking point of last season's summer months with some players complaining of heat exhaustion in temperatures that reached up to 35 degrees Celsius. Coaches including John Aloisi and Marko Rudan chastised the A-Leagues' controlling body, the Australian Professional Leagues, for prioritising broadcast slots over player welfare.
Between mid-December and February there will be no 3pm kick-offs.
"We've pushed back kick-off times during the summer period to benefit fans and players," said commissioner Nick Garcia. "We've reduced the number of simultaneous matches to ensure more fans can watch more games, and we've locked in more fixtures at family-friendly times to make it easier for fans to attend matches."
Two A-League Men games per week will be shown on Network Ten, while the rest will remain on Ten's paid subscription service Paramount+.
The highlights of the opening weeks of the A-League Men draw include reigning champions the Central Coast Mariners opening their season away to Adelaide United. Sydney FC will face Melbourne Victory in the first round of the A-League Men season and meet the Western Sydney Wanderers in round five. Melbourne City and Victory meet in round nine and John Aloisi's Western United will face brother Ross' Brisbane Roar in round eight.
International breaks will be observed in November but there will be no break for January's men's Asian Cup.
The A-League Women will kick-off in its first standalone round a week prior to the A-League Men, with two of the Matildas' rising stars -- Cortnee Vine (Sydney FC) and Clare Hunt (Western Sydney Wanderers) -- clashing.
Despite the Matildas' surge in popularity following their run to the Women's World Cup semifinal, no regular season A-League Women games will be shown on TV. Instead, they will be broadcast on Network Ten's free streaming service 10 Play.
The A-League Women, which expands to 12 teams following the arrival of the Mariners, will adopt the top-six finals format currently used by the A-League Men.