The Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, has not declined a request for Channel Nine Perth to play tomorrow night’s State of Origin match on a multichannel, because no request was made.
The timeslot for the SOO has been an issue in the west, partly because the audience for NRL is perceived as modest, and because the late airing is compounded by the differences in time zone.
On its Facebook page, Wide World of Sports claimed, “Nine Perth have applied for an exemption from the senator and it was not approved.”
Last week a spokesperson from WIN TV’s Nine Perth told TV Tonight, “We inquired of the Minister’s office but his hands are tied by the legislation, State of Origin is a Tier A sport and until Perth switches off the analog service, the broadcaster is required to simulcast in analog and digital on the main channel.”
But State of Origin will actually be a Tier B event on the new-look anti-siphoning list.
Yesterday a spokesperson for Senator Conroy contradicted Nine’s advice, telling TV Tonight, “The Minister has not received any request from the Nine Network or WIN to delist matches of the 2011 State of Origin.
“These “delistings” have been made on a case-by-case basis following requests from relevant free-to-air broadcasters that hold the broadcast rights to the events in question, and where they are consistent with the intended reforms to the anti-siphoning scheme as announced by the Minister on 25 November 2010.
“These reforms will provide for the making of an anti-siphoning list with two tiers: Tier A and Tier B. State of Origin will be listed under Tier B of a future list. Tier B events will be allowed to be premiered on a digital multichannel.
“It remains the case that scheduling and programming decisions regarding events such as the State of Origin are commercial considerations for free-to-air broadcasters. The anti-siphoning scheme and list would not prevent Nine Perth from showing matches of the 2011 State of Origin at an earlier time on its main channel.”
When furthered on the detail of its exemption request, Nine Perth declined to comment further.
The game will be played at 8:30pm tomorrow night on Nine, one hour earlier than the second SOO match.