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Free TV turns to NFL in its push on anti-siphoning

What does American football have to do with Aussie sports right? A lot if it suits an argument.

Free TV Australia issued an unusual statement in its fight against anti-siphoning rules, by drawing upon costs reported in the USA around NFL streaming costs.

After Netflix announced rights to a special Christmas Day match, MarketWatch reported streaming-only NFL would need access to six different streaming platforms, which can run $1,600 ($A2400) or more for the year. And cable users are going to need access to eight different channels or streaming platforms, which can run $2,300 ($A3,450) or more for the year.

Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said, “News from the US today that consumers will need to pay more than $2400 (USD $1600) to watch the full 2024 season of NFL should alarm every Australian. US consumers will be forced to subscribe to up to seven separate streaming apps just to watch a single season of NFL.

“This is a clear signal of what we will face in Australia if we don’t future-proof new laws to protect Australians’ right to free sport on TV, however they access it. With the current cost of living pressures Australians are facing, it is hard to understand why the Government is not stepping in to stop this from happening.

“In Australia we’ve always had a right to share the highs and lows of our favourite sporting teams with our family and friends for free, no matter how much we earn. Watching free sport brings the nation together and is part of the Australian way of life. We don’t want a two-tier community where the haves can watch sport, and the have-nots miss out.

“Australians should not have to sign up to seven streaming services just to get the sports they currently get for free. And this is the horribly certain future under the new anti-siphoning rules before the parliament which do not protect the right of Australians to watch their free sport if they access their free TV services via the internet.”

Let’s hope that future releases comparing Australia to international television show where we are lagging behind?

11 Responses

  1. Can free tv first answer why every game of every round of the A-league which is with a FTA network (Channel 10) not already free for the very Australians they so deeply care about?

    Why are many game exclusive to Paramount+ which is also “pay-tv” – difference is the money going to CBS instead of Foxtel or Amazon or Bein Sports or taditional paytv provider.

    Sadly, the reality is FTA networks get the rights and push majority of it anyways to their own paid platforms – Aussie Purcell had a five setter just yesterday at French Open and guess what you couldn’t watch it on Ch 9, who own the rights. Instead they would ask you to subscribe to Stan Sports.

    The loss here with massive restrictions is the money that CA or AFL will earn from broadcast revenue. That in turn flows down to grassroots. Aussie cricket women is a fine example. The best there is, right now and yet they don’t earn much for CA – money invested in them comes at a loss and yet look at them now – proud world champions

  2. Given the cost-of-living crisis that’s happening in Australia right now, more people are concerned about some sports that will be shoved under a paywall. I looked on the Greens Media releases & according to Senator Hanson-Young, she was concerned that the Federal Government would change the legislation in the House that would put more sports under a Paywall. If this happens, this will be a very dark day for many fans and people have to pay to watch sport live.
    I’m concerned with the very strong competition between FTA & Sub streaming platforms. As ad revenue declines, many sporting organizations probably won’t get what they want from FTA & hence, they would shove them under a paywall. More people are paying money to watch sports live.

  3. Every game every week has never been on FTA here, and in the US every game is shown on FTA in the cities of the two competing teams regardless of who has the rights (eg Bengals v Jets on Prime would also be on FTA in Cincinnati and NY), that doesn’t happen in Melbourne.

  4. Lets all just pause for a moment and think back to our childhoods. Limited number of games each week for NRL, AFL, black out for the cricket, Don Lane’s Tuesday Night NFL, limited F1 and touring car coverage, NBA highlights and no live games

    Now my biggest problem is finding time to watch it all. I pay for a Foxtel Subscription (All NRL, AFL, Cricket, F1, Supercars, NASCAR. A decent amount of NFL, NBA although not my focus) I have an MLB At Bat subscription to listen to Seattle Mariners games. I do miss out on stuff like MLS, Formula E, Indycar. My wife has BEin Sport for the Tennis and we will probably subscribe to Stan for the Grand Slams.

    When FTA TV can prove they can give me that level of sport consistently I will sit through the ads and constant jamming down my throat of “Farmer Wants To Block The Masterchef Survivor”

    Right now we have never had it so good for sports coverage. Look at it like this – Cheap things aren’t good (FTA TV)
    and good things aren’t cheap (Subscription)

  5. As I’ve said before, it’s already a 2 tiered community. More than half the AFL games each week are pay-walled already! I don’t watch it, but I see this is true for the NRL as well. This thing they’re speaking out against is already in place, you already need a subscription to watch these sports, and it’s already over $200 a year!

  6. Maybe we should do a poll of Australians and ask the question, would you prefer watching AFL, NRL and cricket for free or be forced to pay over $2,000 a year to watch each sport on pay-TV/streaming.
    I’m pretty sure I know which way the vast majority of Australians would vote.
    It’s important to keep the wishes of ordinary Aussies in mind when discussing monopoly power and TV sporting rights.

    1. “every game of every round” of AFL and NRL is already on the anti-siphoning list but the reality is that neither Seven or Nine could afford the rights to that.

      My biggest fear with the new NRL rights (which is up for renewal) is they will be split between multiple subscription providers. For example, Saturday games on Stan, Sunday on Foxtel/Kayo.

    2. Name a time the AFL (VFL), NRL or Cricket haven’t been on FTA for free. You can’t because it has never happened and never will happen. We aren’t talking about the global distribution of rights owned by the NFL in the US. You really think they are going to let Albanese reduce the value of their rights down to peanuts so that Seven and Nine can stay in business and pander to Albanese? You won’t get free NFL you will get zero NFL unless you put a 3m dish on your roof and subscribe to ESPN Pacific and pay the market price. There’s a reason why most of the cricket, AFL and NRL games are on Foxtel, they pay for most of the production of coverage and the money that pays for world class players. Without it you would be watching 2 camera coverage of part-time garbage men running around like we did in the 1970s.

  7. The networked games though can be watched for free over the air, bringing down those quoted costs both with and without cable to around $800. In addition all streamed games are still available for free in each teams home markets.

    Here in the UK the Premier League has been behind a paywall since it’s creation and the Champions League has been completely for the last decade or so. That’s about £75/month for the three services required, so roughly AU$1500 for the ten months of the season.

    1. Crickey! 75 quid a month! And some people in Australia think that would be a good thing if it happened here (re: AFL, NRL, cricket). People in the media need to stand up and so no!

      1. How else do premier league teams afford Fodden, Lukaku, Kane, Alexander- Arnold, Grealish, Jesus, Fernandes, Son, Havertz, Alisson and Salah. That first team would cost nearly E1,000,000,000. You can of course go to a pub (that hasn’t shut down) with Sky and watch a game as long as you buy a few pints.

        No other country but Australia does the PM legislate to force sports to give away their coverage to Seven and Nine at way less than the market price to keep incompetent media business in operation.

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