SBS to deliver Ashes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

SBS to deliver Ashes

01/03/2005 05:11:45 AM Comments (0)

SBS managing director Nigel Milan confirmed his station had secured free-to-air television rights to the Ashes cricket series.

Mr Milan told SEN Sports Radio the SBS bid was a result of the station's strong support for anti-siphoning legislation.

"We're really delighted; it's a great opportunity for all Australians to be able to actually view a very important sporting event on free-to-air television," Mr Milan said.

"We've been very strong supporters of the anti-siphoning legislation and it's struck us, with free-to-air television unable or unwilling to actually do it ... and the ABC having scheduling problems, it was time for us to step up to the table.

The government has proposed changes to its anti-siphoning list, which prevents pay-TV operators buying the rights to major sporting events such as AFL, Rugby League and Wimbledon before free-to-air broadcasters.

The changes will allow pay-TV operators to buy the rights to an event 12 weeks before it takes place, compared to the previous six weeks.

Asked whether the station had received backing from cricket fan Prime Minister John Howard, Mr Milan said he had received no firm commitment from anyone.

"The Prime Minister, I suspect, will be delighted about this result, but ... we've got no firm commit from anyone to give us any other form of support.

Mr Milan said the price for the rights had dropped enough to allow SBS to be a player.

"Normally these sorts of things are a very serious auction, and you expect it to be a bit out of the league for SBS, but with the commercials walking away from it and the ABC obviously having one or two problems coming to the table we were able to pull the rights out of the bag and basically give this wonderful competition coverage to all Australians.

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