TV sports given new protection - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

TV sports given new protection

By Belinda Tasker 07/04/2004 06:40:04 PM Comments (0)

Millions of Australians have received a guarantee they will see major sporting events, including the Olympic Games, for free on television after the federal government tweaked its broadcasting rules.

Communications Minister Daryl Williams released a new list for TV sport, ensuring popular events such as rugby league and cricket are shown on free-to-air networks rather than pay TV.

Free-to-air TV networks welcomed the changes, while the pay TV industry's main representative body criticised them.

Mr Williams said the so-called anti-siphoning list needed to be updated because it was 10 years old.

As a result, the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games were added to the protective list, while less popular sports such as basketball were dropped.

Mr Williams said many of the dumped events had received little or no free-to-air coverage.

"Nationally significant sporting events will remain on the list, with events such as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games now included to ensure that these important events continue to be available to viewers on free-to-air television," he told a pay TV conference in Sydney.

The main losers include motor racing fans who will no longer be guaranteed to see overseas Formula One Grand Prix or the Moto Grand Prix races for free.

Also dumped were National Soccer League matches, US Golf Open, Hong Kong rugby union games, the Australian men's and women's Hardcourt Tennis Championships and local basketball matches plus pre-quarterfinal matches for the US and French tennis opens.

The anti-siphoning rules give priority to free-to-air networks acquiring the rights to sporting events deemed to be of national significance, like the Melbourne Cup, National Rugby League and Australian Football League games plus Australian cricket matches.

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