Fox Sports 501 has been named Channel of the Year in front of more than 400 Australian TV and media professionals at the 2016 ASTRA Conference in Sydney.
In presenting the award at yesterday’s event, ASTRA chief executive Andrew Maiden said the sports channel has become enormously popular and was a worthy recipient due to its exceptional coverage of the 2016 NRL season.
“Sport’s not just a form of entertainment in Australia – it’s a way of life and deeply embedded in the Australian psyche,” he said.
“In selecting Fox Sports 501 as Channel of the Year, our independent judging panel said the team set the benchmark for Australian sports coverage with the best pre and post-game shows, and some of the strongest commentators and talent in the business.”
Maiden said the channel has performed exceptionally well over the last 12 months, with average audiences up by nine per cent for all games, and NRL accounting for 50 of the top 100 programs on subscription television.
“All regular live match timeslots have seen year-on-year growth, and on Saturday a new ratings record for NRL was set, with an average audience of 486,000 people turning in to watch Storm v Sharks, making it the most watched event on subscription TV in 2016 and the ninth most-watched Fox Sports broadcast ever,” he said.
“It’s all this and more, including some of the most popular entertainment shows on STV, that have helped to make Fox Sports 501 the number one subscription TV channel in the 2016 year to date.”
Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany said channel was very honoured to be acknowledged as the best in the subscription TV industry.
“Fox Sports 501 represents the best of sports TV in Australia, fuelled by every game of NRL live and supported by an array of weekly entertainment shows,” he said.
“Ratings this year have exceeded projections, with our five exclusive games being 15 per cent up year-on-year coupled with some amazing weekends of NRL action.
“I would like to pay tribute to the team that produce the channel, including all our contractors – they live and breathe sports and have put in a huge effort this year.”
Delaney added that Fox Sports will be producing a dedicated 24/7 rugby league channel in 2017 “with some new shows and a whole new look”.