“No time to waste” in anti-siphoning legislation

Free to Air networks presses the govt on anti-siphoning following Cricket deal by Prime Video.

Free TV Australia has responded to Prime Video acquiring the Cricket World Cup rights from the ICC, ahead of new legislation announced by the federal government.

On Monday Prime Video announced rights to every World Cup, World Test Championship Final, and Champions Trophy match until 2027.

Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said “We have been saying for years that streaming giants would be coming for our sports rights here in Australia and the acquisition of World Cup cricket by Amazon just proves the point.

“All Australians deserve the right to share our great sporting moments for free, and that right is in serious jeopardy. There is a real risk that more of our iconic sports events could be exclusively acquired by subscription streaming platforms that aren’t currently covered by the anti-siphoning rules. With cost-of-living pressures in overdrive, we cannot allow access to key sporting events to be dictated by what subscription services Australians can afford.

“The Government’s new Bill introduced last week to expand the current anti-siphoning rules to subscription streaming services is an important new measure, and this deal shows there is no time to waste in getting the Bill passed. The anti-siphoning rules urgently need to be updated to protect our access to live and free sport – it’s part of the Australian way of life.

“However the Bill has a glaring oversight with the failure to include free streaming rights in the proposed model. Australians should be able to watch key sporting events whether they choose to access their free TV services through terrestrial broadcast or online streaming, and this should be rectified before the Bill is passed.

“It might also be time to look at whether the limitation of cricket games on the list to those played in Australia or New Zealand is working for the Australian public. We should be able to watch our national team play no matter where the game is taking place.“

12 Responses

  1. This is a bit disingenuous by Free TV. Any of the FTA channels had the ability to buy the rights to the Cricket World Cup, but they chose not to. For whatever commercial reason they didn’t think it was a good investment. But when a streaming service comes along they all cry that it is completely unfair. Can’t have it both ways! Should be 2 sets of rights. One Free and one Pay, Nobody can own both and everyone stays in their lane.

    1. Do we actually know that the ICC offered the broadcast rights any/all of the Australian media before accepting the Prime Video offer? It wouldn’t be the 1st time that broadcast rights weren’t offered to one-and-all before accepting a “winning” bid.

  2. Didn’t Fox Sports have rights to these events? It looks those days where Foxtel had a monopoly on international cricket matches are over. Looks like the only cricket on Nine will be the Ashes in England in 2027, I’m not aware they have anyt Cricket until then.

  3. As a cricket fan, it hurts. It’s not only the young kids who miss out watching the ICC Tournaments, especially the Limited Over formats. People in hospital, aged care facilities, schools, low incomes, and rural and remote areas will also miss out. Without any exposure for the ICC Events, cricket will suffer and so will fans.

    1. Oh well that is the cricket organisations decision and they have to live with it. Supercars took Foxtel’s money years ago and now it hardly gets talked about.

  4. I have zero issues with sport being paywalled. If I have to pay for multiple streaming services just to watch good quality scripted television, then there is no reason people should not have to do the same for sport.

  5. I wonder how much of this is the FTA networks wanting to pay chicken feed for sports rights because Amazon etc won’t be allowed to bid versus actually giving a rat’s about Joe Public and the “cost of living crisis”.

    1. All of it. And as soon as they get discounted rights to the AFL, NRL, Cricket etc they do deals that put most of the games behind paywalls on Kayo, Stan Sports, Optus Sports or Paramount+ so they don’t have the pay the productions costs and can pocket all the revenue from betting ads. Organising bodies with turn overs in the billions then get government to build and maintain their stadiums for them, not only neglecting grass roots games, but are heavily taxing kids playing them. The ICC owns these games, and the rights to them. We have already seen FIFA threaten to blackout England and European countries if their broadcasters try to low-ball them on rights for the Women’s World Cup.

  6. Cricket is the only sport that I truly follow. So this is very disappointing news.

    “Australians should be able to watch key sporting events whether they choose to access their free TV services through terrestrial broadcast or online streaming, and this should be rectified before the Bill is passed.”

    I sort of agree with this, in that free streaming should be allowed but what that doesn’t take into account is all those thousands, upon thousand of people around Australia who have completely crap internet. You only have to live outside that towns & often your only choice is crap fixed wireless or have to pay for something better on top of the RSP costs.

    Super Netball is a good example, in that anyone can watch 50% of the weekly matches and all of the finals via Kayo Freebies (assuming you have good enough internet to do so).

    I 100% agree with that it should include all national matches and all sports, no matter where they are played.

  7. I’ll look forward to hearing which FTA network was outbid by Amazon for these cricket rights. With upcoming tournaments due to be played overnight or early morning Australian time I’d question the level of interest from the networks for this deal. The 2028 T20 World Cup due to be played in Aus/NZ is the carrot, and that’s not covered.

  8. I was surprised when I read that….I am not a mad sports fan….but I did enjoy the highlights of F1 on 10…now all we get is Aussie round…I am not signing up for streaming for just one item.

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