The Federal Government has confirmed a decision to extend the current sports broadcast anti-siphoning list until April 2023.
The anti-siphoning list which prevents pay-tv channels such as Fox Sports and ESPN from securing exclusive broadcast rights to sports considered ‘culturally significant’ had been due to expire on April 1.
The list provides “protection” for events including the Olympics, AFL and NRL Grand Finals, and select Australian Cricket, Tennis, and Rugby matches.
The anti-siphoning scheme started in 1992 and aims to give free-to-air broadcasters the first opportunity to acquire the rights to broadcast events on the anti-siphoning list.
The list was last updated in 2017 and does not apply to internet streaming platforms meaning that services such as Kayo, Stan Sports and Amazon Prime have an advantage over their pay-tv competitors.
Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher MP, said that the Government will review the list over the next two years as part of its reforms to support broadcasters and enhance the quality of services and content available to all Australians.
“We recognise that many Australians have strong views about being able to watch culturally significant events for free. It is clear that the current anti-siphoning list requires review to make sure that it continues to meet the expectation of Australian audiences,”.
“We also need to consider the impact that COVID-19 has had on how live sporting events are broadcast and the associated changes in deals negotiated between broadcasters and rights holders.
“This decision means that for the next two years the free-to-air networks will continue to have the first opportunity to purchase the rights to culturally significant events, such as the Olympic Games and other major sporting events.”
The Government is currently consulting on the next stage of its media reform program, and stakeholders are encouraged to comment on the media reform green paper by 23 May 2021.