Australian Government to review outdated sports anti-siphoning rules

Australia’s new Federal Government has announced plans to hold a consultation process into the country’s controversial sports rights ‘anti-siphoning’ rules.

Michelle Rowland

The anti-siphoning framework was set up to give Australia’s free-to-air broadcasters the opportunity to secure rights to major sporting events – to prevent them all being acquired by PayTV players such as Foxtel. In recent years, however, the system has been overtaken by events because it doesn’t apply to streaming platforms.

As a result, cash rich SVOD platforms like Amazon Prime are not covered, even though they have become increasingly aggressive in sports rights. At time of writing, the ecommerce platform was rumoured to be interested in securing both exclusive Olympic Games rights from the IOC and live rights from Cricket Australia.

Federal minister for communications Michelle Rowland said: “Subscription-based services make a valuable contribution to Australia’s media market and consumer choice but not everyone can afford to pay for sport. Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy and live and free coverage of events of national significance, regardless of where they live or what they earn. The televising of key sports competitions helps to create shared experiences, foster a collective Australian identity, and contributes to grassroots community-based sports participation.”


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