Netball Australia ditches Nine for Foxtel, select matches on Kayo Freebies

Netball Australia has inked a five-year broadcast and digital rights deal with the Foxtel Group, ending a five-year relationship with Nine.

The 2021 season will still be broadcast free to air on Nine, as well as across Telstra TV and the Netball Live Official App, with Foxtel to commence as Netball Australia’s new broadcast partner from 2022.

Foxtel called the deal a “ground-breaking” achievement, with every round of the Suncorp Super Netball competition to air live and ad-free across Foxtel platforms including Kayo.

Fox Sports will produce the broadcast of all matches played in Australia, and each week two matches will be available to watch free of charge as part of the recently announced Kayo Freebies ‘freemium’ tier of Foxtel’s streaming app.

International matches featuring the Origin Australian Diamonds will also be available on Kayo Freebies.

Nine-year-old Emily with Netball stars Melissa Bragg (Collingwood), Liz Watson (Australia) and Kate Eddy (Vixens) at Albert Park on February 02, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Wayne Taylor/Getty Images)

Super Netball League Commission chair and former Bauer Media exec Marina Go said the new deal was struck after a period of “intense interest and negotiation with several parties who were keenly aware of netball’s unique position within Australian sport.

“We are delighted to be partnering with such a strong and well-regarded organisation and look forward to bringing our fierce and exciting sport to the Foxtel Group’s audience including Kayo’s rapidly growing customer base,” Go said.

“There are many winners in this deal, and that includes the world’s best netball players who will enjoy contract security and some of the best conditions of any female athletes anywhere.”

Not among those winners, Nine, who in a statement provided to Mumbrella said the broadcaster is “disappointed” that Netball Australia has ended its relationship.

“We are disappointed that after working with netball to grow the game for the past five years we find they have taken the deal with Foxtel which is supported by government money which we don’t have access to,” the spokesperson said.

Select matches will be available on Kayo Freebies

Foxtel said the deal has been structured to make sure elite netball remains accessible to the sport’s growing fan base, while also increasing investment in match production.

Netball Australia interim CEO Ron Steiner said the Foxtel deal will allow Super Netball to enhance its world-leading status.

“This is a landmark deal for the sport and provides the foundation for Suncorp Super Netball to grow and enhance its status as the best elite netball competition in the world,” he said.

“It also provides financial security that will enable netball’s member organisations to nurture what is Australia’s number one female team participation sport. Netball’s mission is to empower women and girls and connect communities, and the wide-ranging impact of this deal will drive those outcomes.”

Foxtel chief content and commercial officer, Amanda Laing, said the broadcast agreement will help strengthen audience engagement for netball in Australia.

We are incredibly pleased to be joining Netball Australia to play our part in consolidating Suncorp Super Netball as the world’s number one elite netball competition.

“By bringing the free and paid broadcast and digital rights together, we can establish a more consistent competition schedule which will strengthen audience engagement. We have a reputation for innovation and will use our production expertise and marketing capability across Foxtel and Kayo to support netball’s continued growth.

“Suncorp Super Netball players are extraordinary athletes and striking ambassadors for their sport.  We will work with the players, clubs, sponsors and the whole netball community to raise their profile and deliver the recognition and rewards which they deserve”.

“As the most established elite women’s sport in Australia, netball joins an exciting and diverse range of women’s and men’s sports who have chosen to partner with Foxtel and Kayo.”

Foxtel is owned by News Corp (65%) and Telstra (35%).

Both Steiner and Go thanked Nine and Telstra for their support of the competition during “a critical time”.

“We look forward to working closely with them during season 2021 and thank them for their commitment to the game,” they said, in a combined statement.

It’s the second big announcement from Foxtel in the space of two days, after Telstra announced a partnership with Kayo that would see its customers gain discounted access to live NRL and AFL coverage for the forthcoming 2021 season.


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