Women’s NBL big winner to date in federal government’s $30m Foxtel sports deal

The federal government has released details of the sports to be covered under its controversial $30m women’s and niche sports broadcasting program.

Introduced in the 2017-18 budget as a sweetener to Foxtel under the federal government’s broadcasting reforms, the deal saw $15m given up front to the subscription TV broadcaster with two annual payments of $7.5m over the following years.

The Women’s National Basketball League was cited as a success story for the federal government’s deal with Fox Sports

Foxtel’s initial report on the program, designed to support television and online coverage of sports that receive low or no broadcast exposure including women’s and niche sports, claimed Fox Sports had exceeded the broadcast hours stipulated in the agreement by 24% with 4,800 hours of coverage.

The coverage, which included 1,600 of live broadcasting, was a 39% increase on the previous year with Foxtel claiming 42 different sport competitions benefitted from the program.

According to Foxtel, the Women’s National Basketball League was the success story of the program’s first year with the broadcaster acquiring the rights and providing broadcast coverage for the competition.

The broadcaster claimed this, and programs providing media training to players and business development to the code, enabled the WNBL to secure Chemist Warehouse as a naming rights sponsor and improved the the competition’s digital assets.

In the report, Fox Sports claimed women’s cricket – which it acquired as part of its rights deal with Seven in April – will be a key part of meeting its obligations under the deal with 100% growth in covering international matches, the Women’s Big Bash League and ICC Twenty20.

For other codes, the WNBL will see similar coverage, while the FFA Cup, Matilda’s games and the W-League will see 13% increase in total coverage, albeit with a 25% drop in live broadcasts.

Rugby Union, however was not so lucky with a fall of 21% of coverage for the men’s Rugby Sevens, while the women’s competition will see a pickup of 33%.

League on the other hand will see a pick up of 340% in coverage of women’s tests and state of origin.

Smaller sports, including gymnastics, lawn bowls, hockey and cycling however are not expected to do so well with coverage falling over the next year.

Mitch Fifield, minister for communications, said in releasing the report: “This is an outstanding result for women’s and niche sports.

“Many sports struggle to secure consistent broadcast coverage, but this data shows audiences want to see under-represented sports on our screens.

“Grants like these create possibilities for more sports to reach a wider audience, secure funding, and increase participation rates.

“In addition to the funding, Fox Sports works closely with a range of sports bodies and rights holders to help them develop and become more commercially viable. For example, the WNBL’s partnership with Fox Sports led to the signing of a major naming rights partner

“In 2018-19, Fox Sports will provide enhanced coverage of sports including all W-league soccer games, the inaugural Hockey Pro league, the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 cricket and the FIBA Women’s World Cup basketball.”

Mumbrella has contacted Foxtel for more details on its commitment under the program.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.