Foxtel secures further $10m funding from Federal Government

Subscription TV operator Foxtel has received a $10m boost from the Federal Government.

The money is intended to support the broadcaster in showcasing women’s, niche and under-represented sports, and takes its total handout from the Government to $40m over six years.

Back in 2018, Foxtel was granted $30m as part of the same initiative.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, has not yet responded to questions from Mumbrella about whether the funding was up for grabs for other broadcasters, and if consideration was given to operators which are more freely available to viewers. Mumbrella also asked Fletcher’s office for a statement on how Foxtel has used the funds so far, and why this funding was a priority when so many media outlets are under pressure and in need of relief.

A statement from the his office, however, said despite COVID-19’s impact on sport, Fox Sports has broadcast more than 4,888 hours of content covered by the media grant over the past year – 1,167 of which was part of a live broadcast, and 3,050 of which was women’s sport. The Government said women’s sports’ coverage had increased by more than 100% since 2016.

Fletcher’s statement also pointed to Foxtel’s credentials in his statement.

“With six dedicated sports channels and a wide range of sports news, Fox Sports has a strong commitment to broadcasting sports and events that may not otherwise receive television coverage,” he said.

Foxtel welcomed the funding, with CEO Patrick Delany saying the Government’s support has never been more important.

Foxtel is the broadcaster with the best capacity for sport, Delany said

“This funding consolidates a long-term program of support for under-represented sport which has been a game-changer for women’s sport in Australia,” he said.

“In a world where sports media is a source of inspiration and excitement for people of every age group, continuing coverage of under-represented sports has a vital role to play in increasing participating at the grassroots level and creating new opportunities for Australia’s incredibly talented female and male athletes.”

Delany said since the program’s inception in 2018, many under-represented athletes, particularly women, have seen their careers flourish, which has also acted as an inspiration to viewers and would-be athletes.

Foxtel must report annually to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications on how it’s using the funding. Throughout the 2019 financial yer, Foxtel said it broadcast more than 5,850 hours of content covered by the finding – 78% more than originally planned. 65% of these hours were coverage of women’s sports. It said 43 sporting competitions had benefitted, and the coverage reached 4.2m Australians.

“With eight 24-hour Fox Sports channels, our Kayo Sports streaming service and, we are uniquely placed to deliver on the policy objectives of the funding,” Delany added. “Only Foxtel has the production capability, channel capacity and OTT and digital platforms to provide thousands of hours of coverage of women’s and under-represented sports.”

UPDATE, 23 July: At 5:32pm on Wednesday, 23 July, a spokesperson from Fletcher’s office responded to Mumbrella’s questions. The questions, and the response, can be seen below. 

  • Was this funding up for grabs for other broadcasters/ operators? Or was Foxtel the only option?
  • What made you prioritise this funding when so many media outlets are under pressure/ in need of relief?
  • How do you think Foxtel has performed/ used the funding so far?
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic rolling on, why did you decide to focus on live sport, when it could be forced to stop again?
  • Not everyone has access to Foxtel, was any consideration given to more freely available broadcasters?


  • Fox Sports is well placed to continue its role as a leading sports broadcaster.

  • With eight dedicated sports channels, plus the Kayo Sports streaming service and, Fox Sports has a strong commitment to promoting sports and events that may not otherwise receive any media coverage.

  • Fox Sports has been successfully delivering the under-represented sports program since it was announced in 2017.

  • For the past three years Foxtel has successfully increased television coverage of a range of sports that were not previously broadcast or received only limited coverage:

    • there has been an increase of more than 100 per cent since 2016 in the coverage of women’s sports – including AFLW, WNBL and W-League, with more than 3,050 hours broadcast over the last year.

    • in 2020-21 fourteen different sport codes will benefit including; AFL, Football (Soccer), Rugby Union, Rugby League, cricket, basketball, hockey, softball and baseball.

    • Funding is to be distributed to allow for broadcast coverage of 17 women’s sport competitions, 12 niche sport competitions and 9 emerging sport competitions.


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