The federal government has today announced $10 million in funding to FOX Sports to continue its coverage of women’s, niche and other under-represented sports.
This extends previous 2017 funding, to a total of $40 million over six years.
Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said, “With six dedicated sports channels and a wide range of sports news, FOX Sports has a strong commitment to broadcasting sports and events that may not otherwise receive television coverage.”
Over the past year, despite the impact of COVID-19, FOX Sports broadcast more than 4,888 hours of under-represented sports included more than 3,050 hours of women’s sport.
But the previous handout of $30m in 2017 was not without scrutiny, and came at a time when Free to Air broadcasters received $127m licence fee relief and an ABC funding freeze of $84m. Questions were raised about a “sweetener” backroom deal when ABC revealed a no paper work on how Foxtel was chosen existed.
In 2018 Foxtel confirmed 90% of all women’s sport on Australian TV aired on Foxtel, four times more than all Free to Air networks combined.
Foxtel Group Chief Executive Officer Patrick Delany said: “This funding consolidates a long-term program of support for under-represented sport which has been a game-changer for women’s sport in Australia.
“In a world where sports media is a source of inspiration and excitement for people of every age group, continuing coverage of under-represented sports has a vital role to play in increasing participation at the grass-roots level and creating new opportunities for Australia’s incredibly talented female and male athletes.
“Right now, as these codes look to competition restarts following the challenges of COVID-19, the Commonwealth Government’s support has never been more important.
“Since the start of the program in 2018, we have seen the careers of many athletes in under-represented sports, particularly female athletes, flourish. It has also served as an inspiration to a new generation of sportswomen and men at every level. And with Foxtel’s coverage placing women’s sports alongside established elite male sports, it has elevated the profile and status of these sports and sportswomen.
“With eight 24-hour Fox Sports channels, our Kayo Sports streaming service and foxsports.com.au we are uniquely placed to deliver on the policy objectives of the funding. Only Foxtel has the production capability, channel capacity and OTT and digital platforms to provide thousands of hours of coverage of women’s and under-represented sports.”