Free TV Australia has today rejected the latest calls from pay TV to undermine the anti-siphoning rules which ensure that all Australians are able to view major sporting events for free regardless of where they live and their capacity to pay.
Free TV chairman Harold Mitchell said, “It’s a case of here we go again as pay TV attempts to force Australians to pay for sports they currently see for free.
“Millions of Australian sports fans are able to see a range of major sporting events because of the antisiphoning rules. Any move to force them to pay to watch sports they currently see for free, risks a strong voter backlash.
“The antisiphoning list consists of ten sports plus the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. It is misleading to talk about the list containing thirteen hundred events.
“Free TV broadcasters show everything we acquire and you only have to look at television over summer to see there is more sport live and free than ever before.”
Audiences for sport on Free TV in 2015 have jumped up 11.7 per cent in metro and 6.3 per cent in regional areas, year-on-year.
Research conducted by Crosby|Textor last year found that 88 per cent of respondents believe sporting events should be available to all Aussies free of charge.
The research also found that free access to sporting programs is ‘very important’ to Australians, with 76 per cent of people disagreeing with the statement that ‘no one would care if major Australian sports are only shown on pay TV’.
“It’s clear that the Australian public do not want to be forced to pay to watch their favourite sports on television,” Mitchell added.
“And Free TV will continue to defend the rights of viewers to watch their favourite sport for free.”