Foxtel today welcomed the Commonwealth Government's announcement that it would extend funding to support the continued coverage of women's, niche and other under-represented sports.
The $10 million in additional funding over two-years, announced this morning by Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, comes at a crucial time for women's and under-represented sports as they navigate the impact of COVID-19 and look toward competition restarts.
Foxtel Group Chief Executive Officer Patrick Delany said: “This funding consolidates a longterm program of support for under-represented sport which has been a game-changer for women's sport in Australia.
“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 participation at the grass-roots level and creating new opportunities for Australia's incredibly talented female and male athletes.
“Right now, as these codes look to competition restarts following the challenges of COVID- 19, the Commonwealth Government's support has never been more important.
“Since the start of the program in 2018, we have seen the careers of many athletes in underrepresented sports, particularly female athletes, flourish. It has also served as an inspiration to a new generation of sportswomen and men at every level. And with Foxtel's coverage placing women's sports alongside established elite male sports, it has elevated the profile and status of these sports and sportswomen.
“With eight 24-hour Fox Sports channels, our Kayo Sports streaming service and foxsports.com.au, we are uniquely placed to deliver on the policy objectives of the funding. 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.”
Foxtel reports annually to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications on deliverables associated with the funding. In its most recent report for the 2019 financial year, Foxtel's investment in the acquisition and broadcast of underrepresented sports exceeded the $7.5 million in government funding for that year reflecting its passion for bringing more diverse coverage of sports to fans.
- Fox Sports broadcast more than 5,850 hours of content covered by the funding, 78% more than originally planned with 1,649 hours broadcast live including AFLW, WNBL, W-League, Rugby Sevens, hockey, softball, baseball and lawn bowls.
- More than 3,800 hours were coverage of women's sport, 65% of total hours.
- 43 different competitions benefited, reaching more than 4.2 million Australians.
In addition to a significant increase in the number of hours of women's and underrepresented sports broadcast Foxtel, through Fox Sports, worked closely with a range of sports bodies rights holders and athletes to establish partnerships which have bought new opportunities to the sports.
For example, for sports such as women's basketball, Fox Sports has provided exposure via live streaming in front of the paywall on foxsports.com.au, digital, marketing and publicity support, creation of promotional materials, airtime to promote events and joint sales opportunities for broadcast and competition sponsorship.