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Big sporting events to stay free from paywalls



Australia’s iconic sporting events will remain free to bettors for the next three years while the federal government reviews how they can be broadcast in the future.

Major matches such as the AFL and NRL grand finals, along with the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, will continue to be pay-free, with free-to-air providers being the first to get broadcast rights.

The big sporting codes are unlikely to be happy about the call, having told the government’s review of the scheme last year that they wanted the list of events shortened so they could sell more behind paywalls.

The Coalition of Major Participation and Professional Sports said higher prices for television rights would mean they would have more money to invest in things like women’s sports.

But Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the government would work on revising anti-diversion laws this year and deliver a longer-term plan.

She said initial industry feedback highlighted the need for more consultation on specific reforms.

“Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy free, live coverage of events of national importance, no matter where they live or how much they earn,” said Ms Rowland.

“The Albanian government recognizes the need for events of national and cultural significance to remain free and accessible to the Australian public, as well as the need for certainty around the listing while the review of the anti-siphon scheme is underway in 2023..”

The revision is designed to help modernize the anti-siphon scheme, since it was implemented in 1994.

The sports body’s filing said anti-diversion laws are “unfairly anti-competitive” and unnecessary.

Listing large sections of matches, such as full AFL and NRL seasons, was “unreasonable”, he said.

The review is part of a broader set of government reforms to the media.


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