FOXTEL axes 3 Sports Channels as cuts to premium programming continues
Foxtel has confirmed it will axe three dedicated football channels as the pay-tv provider continues to scale back its investment in programming.
From Tuesday May 28, the three EPL club channels, Manchester United TV, Liverpool Football Club TV, and Chelsea TV will be removed from the Foxtel platform. Additionally, EPL programming from Arsenal TV, City TV, and Spurs TV will no longer appear on Fox Sports channels.
The club channel content which featured delayed EPL match coverage were added to Foxtel in 2016 in response to complaints from frustrated subscribers after Optus snared the rights to the English Premier League in a surprise deal reportedly worth $50 Million.
The axing of the EPL club channels comes after Foxtel last week confirmed it would reduce spending on “non-marquee” sporting content. Foxtel currently has a programming cost base of $1.6 billion with 50% of this going to sports rights.
It’s has been tough times for the NewsCorp/Telstra owned business which made a financial loss of $417 million in 2018, and is looking to Asia investors for 2.5 Billion in debt refinancing. Foxtel is currently in negotiations with several content suppliers including the BBC, Discovery, and NBCU as it looks to extend existing content deals and secure more programming for new streaming services which will launch later this year.
Foxtel is also currently spending over $200 million in new set-top box installations as it moves customers to satellite connections ahead of the shutdown of the cable network next year.
The reduction in sports spending comes at a bad time for Rugby Australia and the A-League who are both hoping to renegotiate their current rights agreements at a time when broadcast audience viewership is diminishing.
This latest cut comes after last week’s abrupt shutdown of finance channel Your Money. Over the past three years Foxtel subscribers have seen Disney XD, FX, Lifestyle You, Turner Classic Movies, World Movies, Eurosport News, and Nat Geo People removed from the service, while Foxtel Arts and Smooth Music were merged.