Sports Broadcasting

Sports Broadcasting     
Prepared by  Prepared by: Chris Hume, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Australian Sports Commission
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Dr Merryn Sherwood, Sports Journalism Lecturer, La Trobe University (January 2017), Professor David Rowe, Institute of Cultural Research, Western Sydney University (January 2017)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: May 2017
Please refer to the Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer page for
more information concerning this content.

Community Sport Coaching
Thinkstock, 153545946


Australians like watching sport on television. In 2014, four of the top five rating television programs were sporting events. [Source: TV Trends 2014, (PDF  PDF document - 561 KB),, March 2015]

Over the last 10 years, the media market has undergone a drastic transformation, which has positively affected sports on TV. There is an enormous amount of sports content to choose from and a surprising amount of hours viewed. In 2015, there were more than 127,000 hours of sports programming available on broadcast and cable TV and more than 31 billion hours spent viewing sports, which is up 160% and 41%, respectively, from 2005. [source: Neilsen] 

  • Sport: Future Proofing [audio], BBC Radio 4, (February 2017). Presenters Timandra Harkness and Leo Johnson investigate the future of sport in the digital age. How will physical activity and organised sport be viewed in the years to come?

A small number of Australian sporting organisations presently derive significant income through the sale of sports media broadcast rights. These organisations gain a number of other associated benefits such as increased public exposure, higher levels of brand recognition, and lucrative sponsorship and merchandise licencing opportunities.

  • Pay to play: how sports bodies keeping winning the TV great rights battles, Mark Hawthorne, Sydney Morning Herald, (25 March 2017). If anyone needs a reminder of the bond between sport and commercial television in this country it should be remembered it was the 1956 Olympics that finally brought TV screens into our lounge rooms. After two decades of prevarication by politicians, the Menzies government bit the bullet in 1953 – after Melbourne had been named as host of the Summer Games – and amended the Broadcasting Act to allow for the granting of commercial television licences. 

Recent advances in digital communications technologies – satellite, cable, broadband and mobile internet – continue to influence the way many Australians watch and interact with live sporting events and sports media content. 

Key Messages 


Multiple and relatively low cost entry points into today's digital communications environment allows for more sporting organisations to reach and engage wider audiences.


A sporting organisation’s ability to produce and/or attract regular positive mainstream media exposure is seen as a key strategic catalyst for driving revenue and growth.


Television coverage of women’s sport in Australia is poor when compared with that of men representing less than 10% of all news and non-news content.

Sport on free-to-air television (FTA), pay television (PTV), and a variety of mobile and on-line channels offers sport the opportunity to sell broadcast rights under licence to a broad spectrum of media organisations. Media exposure allows a sport to build a brand image through marketing, sponsorship, brand linkages, customer loyalty, events, trademarks, and image rights. 

Latest reading

  • Major reforms to support Australian broadcasters, Australian Government, Department of Communications and the Arts (6 May 2017). The Government will work with industry to introduce new restrictions on gambling advertisements during live sports broadcasts. The new restriction will ban gambling advertisements from five minutes before the commencement of play until five minutes after the conclusion of play or 8:30pm, whichever comes sooner. The reform package will also amend Australia’s anti-siphoning regime to reduce the size of the list and update other parts of the scheme, whilst ensuring that iconic sporting events of national significance are retained. Further information on the proposed reform package can be found on the Department of Communications & the Arts website
  • BT has made a huge gamble on sport – but will it win? Robert Simmons, The Conversation, (16 March 2017). For the top football clubs in Europe, it was another great result. The telephone company BT was so determined to keep broadcasting Champions’ League and Europa League football, that it forked out £1.18 billion for the privilege.
  • Wide-ranging ban on gambling ads during sport broadcasts is needed to tackle problem gambling, Christopher John Hunt, The Conversation, (16 March 2017). The Turnbull government is reportedly considering banning the advertising of gambling during televised sporting broadcasts. This is not a new idea: Senator Nick Xenophon has long championed a ban, as have many who work with problem gamblers. It has been reported that more than one-in-six ads shown during AFL matches are gambling-related. So, could advertising be linked with rates of problem gambling?
  • Telstra sets sights on more sports rights after AFL, NRL, netball app overhauls, John Stensholt, AFR, (12 February 2017). Telstra is mulling a stronger push into the increasingly competitive market for major sports broadcast rights after completing a total revamp of its apps and digital broadcasting of the AFL, NRL and the new Super Netball competitions this year.
  • Prize fight over live-streamed sport will go on long after the final bell sounds, David Rowe and Brett Hutchins, The Conversation, (9 February 2017). When a Brisbane boxing fan who paid $59.95 for “live and exclusive” viewing of last Friday’s Danny Green v Anthony Mundine boxing match streamed it off his TV through a smartphone and Facebook Live, he landed quite a blow beneath Foxtel’s belt. An estimated 300,000 tuned in via this and another unauthorised stream.
  • 3D television is dead… so what next? Marc C. scott, The Conversation, (8 February 2017). Back in 2010 Sony Australia’s Paul Colley forecasted that a large percentage of Australian viewers would have 3D televisions by 2014. So despite all the repeated push and positive predictions, what went wrong with 3D TV? During a year where the battle for ratings is focused upon a sports and reality program lineup, 360 video maybe a go-to for Australian broadcasters.
  • The Super Bowl’s evolution from football game to entertainment extravaganzaThe Conversation, Peter M. Hopsicker and Mark Dyreson, The Conversation, (6 February 2017). In just 50 years, the Super Bowl has become one of the biggest “shared experiences” in American culture, up there with attending religious services, voting in presidential elections and playing Pokémon Go. But curiously, many of the tens of millions who tune in don’t actually want to watch football.
  • Has live televised sport had its day? Megan Boxall, Investors Chronicle, (2 February 2017). When Manchester United took on Liverpool at Anfield in October 2016, 2m people tuned into Sky Sports to watch. The Premier League is worth a great deal to Sky (SKY). It's for games like the one aforementioned or Chelsea versus Hull (an average of 1.3m viewers) that many customers are willing to pay £50 a month for Sky TV with Sky Sports. And so, when the group's rights to the Premier League came under threat in 2015, management spent £4.2bn to keep coverage on its channels.
  • Has the Twenty20 moment arrived for track and field with Nitro Athletics? Mike Rowbottom, Inside the Games, (29 January 2017). Is athletics about to experience its Twenty20 moment this week?
  • Tennis Australia under investigation over legality of A$200m TV deal with Seven, Chris Vedelago and Cameron Houston,, (24 January 2017). Tennis Australia is under investigation by a corporate watchdog over allegations a A$200 million (NZ$209m) deal to sell the broadcast rights of the Australian Open may have broken the law
  • Big Bash League overtakes Australian Open in TV ratings, Sam Landsberg, Herald Sun, (23 January 2017). Big Bash League has served the Australian Open an ace, with TV ratings for the domestic cricket tournament overtaking Melbourne Park’s international grand slam.
  • New technologies of Super Bowl 51: Cameras expected to elevate FOX's broadcast, Tom Taylor, Sports Illustrated, (22 January 2017). There’s no doubt about it—these days, watching the Super Bowl on television beats being there. Sure, dropping $2,500 on a ticket for the sake of being able to say I was there might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but fans tuning in from home on Feb. 5 might be treated to a far richer experience than those on the ground.
  • Deloitte's sports industry starting line-up: Trends expected to disrupt and dominate 2017, Deloitte, (January 2017). Upping the game of sports industry organizations requires commitment—not just to fans and players, but also to principles like integrity and innovation. Deloitte’s Sports practice takes aim at the topics sports industry executives should highlight in their playbooks in 2017.
  • The Big Bash is challenging Australian Open for viewers, Scott Ellis and James Reid, The New Daily, (19 January 2017). Australia’s favourite summer sporting event is being challenged for TV audiences, with viewing figures showing the Australian Open could soon lose its title.
  • Howzat gadget? New tech, deals and Michael Clarke at Nine for record summer of cricket, Michael Evans, Sydney Morning Herald, (29 October 2016). The start of the season also marks the start of a delicate dance – the affections of a cricket-loving public are solicited, broadcasters want access to bigger audiences, shareholders worry about free-to-air broadcasters spending too much, and players (and others) worry about just how much is too much cricket.
  • Fox Sports considers plan to simulcast Channel Nine's international cricket coverage, Jon Pierik, Canberra Times, (29 August 2016). Fox Sports is shaping up as a major player in the next round of cricket broadcast rights, indicating it would be prepared to simulcast matches in conjunction with Channel Nine or even have its own commentary team.
  • 100% Of Acquired Listed Sports Are Broadcast On Free TV(PDF  PDF document - 392 KB), Free TV, (1 April 2016). Commercial-free-to-air broadcasters show 100% of all listed sports they acquire. Free TV Chairman, Harold Mitchell AC, has rejected claims made today by the Pay TV industry lobby group ASTRA to the Senate Committee inquiring into the Media Reform bills, that Free TV broadcasters acquire broadcasting rights to sports on the anti-siphoning list which they do not show. Mr Mitchell says, "The claim that commercial free-to-air broadcasters don’t show the listed sports that they acquire is not correct and continues the misleading claims made by ASTRA about the operations of the list 
  • Sporting codes hit protected TV for six, Darren Davidson, The Australian Business Review, (1 April 2016). The federal government is facing renewed calls from the nation’s most powerful sporting codes including the AFL, NRL and Cricket Australia to reduce the number of events that are restricted to only be screened on free-to-air television. 

A number of reports that have analysed the future of Australian sport have acknowledged the important role that sports media issues have both on the professional codes and those sports aspiring to gain traction through greater media coverage. The Future of Australian Sport report noted:

Media outlets are rapidly changing the way people engage with sports. No longer are spectators restricted to watching the event on television or the internet, but companies are now offering the opportunity to ‘virtually participate’ in sporting events. Hajkowicz, S.A., Cook, H., Wilhelmseder, L., Boughen, N., 2013. The Future of Australian Sport: Megatrends shaping the sports sector over coming decades. A Consultancy Report for the Australian Sports Commission. CSIRO, Australia.

In the past, the broadcasting of competition and events by radio or television may have been viewed by sporting organisations as a threat to spectator attendance, but today sport and the media enjoy a far more symbiotic relationship. The extensive coverage of major professional, and to a lesser extent non-professional, sports and sporting events enables media operators to provide highly popular programming to the public.

  • EU plans to let you stream your movies, TV and sport abroad, Richard Trenholm, cnet, (8 February 2017). Streaming services don't always work in other countries, but new rules could treat your viewing subscriptions like mobile roaming.
  • The NFL Arrives on Twitter, and With It, the Future of Live TV, David Pierce, Wired, (15 September 2016). For the first time this fall, many millions of viewers will tune in to watch the Jets and Bills battle on Thursday Night Football. Many, even most, will watch the same way they’ve always watched football: on television. They’ll flop down onto the couch with remote in hand, or crowd into a sports bar with a pitcher of PBR.
  • Why sports broadcasting could change the rules on sponsored content, Merryn Sherwood, The Conversation, (26 February 2016). As media businesses the world over struggle to identify successful new business models, sponsored content has been pounced on as one potential solution. The model – where brands pay media organisations to produce content related to their product – is increasingly being applied to sports broadcasting. Sport is an expensive media product. A recent estimate of the market found media organisations were paying $US28billion, per year, for sports rights. Except that figure was based solely on professional sports, and therefore does not factor in deals like the US$7.65 billion that American network NBC paid the International Olympic Committee for Olympic rights until 2032. 

Sports that are fortunate to be able to obtain major agreements with FTA channels and in the future via streaming are able to leverage this coverage to create revenue streams that can benefit the whole of sport, for example, providing funds that support grass roots development programs and increased opportunities for sponsorship. However, broadcasting is not an even playing field with the majority of sports unable to access the FTA markets and thus missing the opportunities available to major professional sporting bodies. These broadcasting agreements allow a small number of sports to pay their athletes substantial salaries. Currently, a number of player collective bargaining agreements are linked to broadcasting agreements and other revenue generating deals within that particular sport.

  • Why Foxtel is starting to cramp Telstra’s style, Rod Myer, The New Daily, (30 March 16). The telco appears desperate to gain a foothold in the streaming world but its ownership of Foxtel is holding it back. If Telstra sells its Foxtel stake, it could launch its own streaming operation using whatever network technologies are available and compete with Foxtel the way Netflix and Stan (a Nine-Fairfax tie-up) do today. Telstra has already started on the path to becoming a video streamer through its ownership of rights to broadcast the AFL and NRL over its mobile networks, where it streams all games from both codes. 

Sports broadcasting can represent a major component of the media production industry and as such, sports programming is a highly attractive commodity to public and commercial broadcasters because it has the capacity to deliver mass audiences. In the early days of broadcasting, the public broadcasters were pioneers of sports coverage, however, this is now less of the case due to escalating broadcasts rights.

In comparison with other television programming, the production cost of sport programming is relatively small, with licensing rights fees the major expenditure for broadcasters.

Sport has been described by Rupert Murdoch as ‘killer content’ as it can also underpin the marketing of products and services offered by PTV, internet and mobile network operators. The evolution and success of Murdoch’s global media empire can be traced back to the acquisition of the rights to the National Football League in the US and the Premier League in England.

  • Sporting sponsorship in flux as millennial fans tune in only for the highlights, Sam Dean, Daily Telegraph, (4 February 2017). For decades, this pinnacle of the NFL season has been one of the leading events on the television calendar. With its extravagant half-time show, overflowing patriotism and streams of dolled-up cheerleaders, it is an advertising dream that has long driven companies to clamber over each other in a bid to secure precious airtime for their adverts.
  • Advertising drives the nation's true sport, Harold Mitchell, Sydney Morning Herald (19 September 2015). This article discusses the key link between the importance of sport, advertising and broadcasting. 

Sport’s broadcasting in Australia continues to operate in a highly regulated yet dynamic environment. Drivers of change include media convergence, the emergence of online technologies and increasing viewer preference for on-demand digital content provision, services, and mechanisms. The emergence of new platforms has created opportunities for new revenue streams for sporting organisations and the contemporary media marketplace has seen the escalating value of media rights deals with digital sports content being delivered through internet and mobile networks in addition to FTA and PTV.

  • Sport: The business of netball, ABC RN Drive, (13 February 2017). The AFL Women's League has seen momentum build behind women's sport in Australia in early 2017. How will netball build on that momentum in 2017? And what will digital streaming mean for the future of sports broadcasting?
  • Why sports will be key to Snapchat's future, Daniel Roberts, Yahoo Sports, (17 November 2016). Snap Inc., parent company of red-hot mobile messaging app Snapchat, filed its plans to go public.
  • Future of the NFL: The Virtual, Augmented, 3D, 360-Degree Football Experience, Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report, (4 November 2016). Tom Brady is standing on the pool table in your man cave. Brady looks real enough to reach out and touch as he waits for the snap behind the Patriots line. His receivers hover over the corner pockets. Rob Gronkowski is standing on your pool table as well, though that's somehow less surprising. In front of you is a live three-dimensional rendering of Gillette Stadium during a playoff game. Or maybe you are watching on your dining room table or your back porch deck. Heck, maybe you want to bring Brady with you into the bathroom instead of waiting for a break in the action. Nothing creepy about that. Just reach out and grab the whole stadium, shrink it, carry it with you, spread it out again in the tub.
  • Twitter’s live stream of the Melbourne Cup could change how we ‘broadcast’ sport, Marc C-Scott, The Conversation, (1 November 2016). The race that stops the nation, the Melbourne Cup, will this year be streamed live on Twitter, competing with the Seven Network’s stream and live TV broadcast of the race.
  • Twitter Wants to Stream a Lot More Than Just Wimbledon and the NFL, Matthew Ingram, Fortune, (8 July 2016). The company is said to be looking at deals with as many as 10 other leagues and networks
  • Live streaming – the ticking time bomb for sports broadcasters, Seb Joseph, The Drum, (11 April 2016). Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter are all eyeing sports media rights as a way to swell engagement on their platforms, but as social video starts to look more like TV, how will the broadcasters react?
  • The future of sports delivery in Australia—NBN multicast, IPTV and the role of the ISPs, Anthony McCosker and Andrew Dodd, Swinburne University of Technology, (1 November 2013). Where lucrative media rights deals for sports content currently lie primarily with pay TV and FTA broadcasters, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) entering the content delivery market through partners such as Fetch TV may be better placed to compete for distribution rights to sporting and other live events. In response to this shifting environment this paper outlines the technological capacities of NBN-based multicast Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), and examines public comment and interview data from ISPs, sports organisations and NBN Co. regarding their intentions for IPTV delivery. 

Media content and services may be divided into programming with mass general appeal (broadcasting) or limited appeal, offered for a limited period of time or to a limited audience (narrow casting). Television broadcasting modalities are classified according to the means by which they are routed to viewers.

Cable transmission uses telephone lines or dedicated cable networks to deliver multi-channel services to viewers. Satellite transmission uses transmitters orbiting the earth to distribute signals, often to very wide audiences. Internet transmission is now a mainstream method of watching sporting events due to the increased speed of broadband. Mobile transmission uses next generation network (NGN) infrastructure such as the 4G and LTE mobile networks to transmit to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, generally to single users.

Viewing on television remains the dominant method of access. The immediacy of the sporting event determines that the premium value lies in live coverage as the recording of matches for later viewing is a less widespread practice than general programming.

While viewing of sport online is still complementary to television viewing, internet and mobile technologies are enjoying rapid growth and sport offers content sought after by operators in these markets. For consumers, they can offer more granular and on-demand viewing experiences. This type of media experience is also being transferred into the in-stadium experience with spectators being able to access direct feeds via Wi-Fi. This has also caused an issue for rights holders as individuals are now able to up-load content via apps such as Periscope.

  • AFL and NRL grand final TV ratings show codes still rely on their traditional heartlands, Hunter Fujak, The Conversation, (5 October 2016). With the AFL and NRL grand finals now played over the same weekend, there’s never been greater scrutiny in comparing the television ratings of these two sport spectacles. While the on-field football contests were both highly combative, the off-field battle between these two winter football codes is arguably just as competitive.
  • Telstra to launch LTE-B networks at major sporting grounds across Australia, Harry Tucker,, (7 October 2015). Sick of missing replays when you’re watching sport live at the ground? That will soon be a thing of the past with new mobile technology set to hit big stadiums next year). It’s called LTE-B, and is a broadcast technology that Telstra has been trialling around the country for the past two years. Its latest test was at this year’s NRL Grand Final, where the telco gave us a look at what the future of live sport is going to be like. 
  • Etihad Stadium to unveil new smartphone app, Wi-Fi system, Daniel Cherny, The Age (18 March 2015). A new smartphone app headlining a range of technology initiatives is set to be unveiled by Etihad Stadium on Thursday. The Docklands venue will also showcase its new free Wi-Fi network as it seeks to become a leader in football's fan experience race. 
  • Australians’ AFL viewing fragments across Free TV, Pay TV and streaming via app on mobile devicesRoy Morgan Research, (24 August 2015). With News Corp, Telstra and Channel Seven recently agreeing to pay a share of over $2.5billion for six years of AFL broadcast rights from 2017, Roy Morgan Research investigates the size and fragmentation of viewership across Free-to-Air, Pay TV, and digital streaming platforms. 
  • From Broadcast Scarcity to Digital Plenitude: The Changing Dynamics of the Media Sport Content Economy. Television & New Media, Hutchins, B, & Rowe, D. 10(4), 354–370 (2009). This essay traces and analyzes emerging zones of conflict as the transmission of popular sport content shifts from the historically dominant platform of broadcast television to the online environment of the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW). These conflicts are many and marked, underpinned by a shift in the media sport content economy in terms of the production, distribution and consumption of content. This economy is conceptualized as moving from a long-established broadcast model characterized by `scarcity', with high barriers of access and cost restricting the number of media companies and sports organizations able to create, control and distribute quality, popular sport content. In comparison, the emerging online model is defined by `digital plenitude', with the Internet and WWW significantly lowering barriers of access and cost and thus increasing the number of media companies, sports organizations, clubs, and even individual athletes able to produce and distribute content for online consumption.

Free-to-Air Television (FTA)

FTA services are offered by publicly funded broadcasters such as the ABC and SBS and by commercial operators. Terrestrial FTA programming can be received by an ordinary television, even if the viewer can also receive such networks through a cable, satellite or digital service. Revenues for FTA services are derived from advertising (and in some countries from public TV license fees e.g. the BBC in the UK and the ABC via public fudning). Time-shifted viewing of FTA programming using recording devices is allowable and increasingly measurable as it boosts audience numbers and advertising revenues. 

  • New national netball competition with big investment and TV coverage a leap forward for women's sport, Roy Masters, The Age, (10 May 2016). Womens' sport has finally found its deserved footprint in the Australian recreation and television landscape. A new eight-team national netball competition will begin in February next year, televised by Channel Nine in prime time, with significant investment from NRL and AFL clubs. "We can see a golden age for female sport in Australia," said Dave Donaghy, the chief executive of the Melbourne Storm, one of the potential investors in the new womens' netball league.
  • At long last cricket will air in HD on Nine, Paul Kalina, Sydney Morning Herald, (5 November 2015). Were Kerry Packer alive today and still in charge of his Nine Network, a few producers might be ordered into the big man's office for a "please explain" session. But with last week's announcement that the main channel will now be broadcast in HD, the network's head of sport Steve Crawley could rightly expect to get a warm reception from the man who gave him a job. They might even share a celebratory Fanta.

Pay or subscription television (PTV)

This refers to TV network services broadcast via cable, satellite or other means and requires an ongoing subscription or pay-per-view fee e.g. Foxtel. The growth of the industry globally has been based largely on live sport coverage with this highly attractive content underpinning the sale of subscriptions and driving consumer uptake of paid services in what was previously a free to air market. Subscriptions now include personal video recorder (PVR) systems, high definition (HD) channels and video-on-demand (VoD).

  • Sky's the Limit, Innovating the Televised Experience, Barney Francis, Leaders in Sport (8 May 2016). Barney is the UK’s highest profile sports broadcast executive and has held the position of Managing Director at Sky Sports since 2009. He is responsible for Sky Sports output across six sports channels including Sky Sports News HD, as well as digital content. In this session snippet from The Leaders Sport Business Summit in New York in March 2016, Barney discusses the innovation and development of the Sky Sports experience over the coming years.

Revenues for operators are generated by selling subscriptions to consumers and from advertising sold by the service providers. For sporting organisations revenues flow from the sale of broadcasting rights to events but with the advent of PTV came the fear that premium sport content would be targeted by PTV broadcasters, depriving those without subscriptions to access to sporting events of national significance. The anti-siphoning regulations were thus framed to limit the extent to which pay television broadcasters can ‘siphon off’ such events. 

  • Foxtel to make anti-siphoning pitch, Max Mason and Dominic White, Sydney Morning Herald (9 November 2015). Foxtel is preparing a list of sports for the federal government that it believes should be taken off the anti-siphoning list because they are not of national and cultural significance. 

Internet and Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)

The internet can be used to transmit sport content to both mass audiences (broadcasting) and highly segmented audiences (narrowcasting). Many Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) services are offered in conjunction with ISPs and take-up is expected to increase as the National Broadband Network is rolled out. Streamed video involves large data downloads but ISP plans are now offering higher download limits and content offered by associated broadcasters is often unmetered. The aggregated IPTV content can be accessed through computers, web-enabled smart television sets and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

  • Twitter is Transforming How We Watch Football - What’s Next? Kent Steffen, Huffington Post, (18 November 2016). Thursday Night Football got an unexpected new home this season: Twitter. Earlier this spring, the social media platform famed for 140-character comments announced it would be teaming up with the NFL to broadcast ten games, throwing its hat into the live sports streaming arena.
  • Traditional model facing testing times as youngsters pioneer new ways to watch sport, David Owen, Inside the Games, (4 November 2016). Restless - that was how I would sum up the atmosphere at the Sportel international sports marketing and media industry convention in Monaco last week. Why? I think because even by the standards of this fast-moving sector, the crystal ball appears particularly cloudy at present.
  • As NFL Playoffs Kick Off, News Comes That Google Or Apple Could Stream Games Next Season, Taylor Bloom, SportTechie, (9 January 2016). London’s calling. And Google and Apple may be answering. Reports are stating that the NFL is planning to live-stream its three London games next season and Apple and Google are engaging in discussions to buy the streaming rights. This would be building off a streaming precedent set by the NFL’s stream of a Jaguars vs. Bills game in London from October of last year. For that game, which Yahoo streamed, the NFL reported the following viewing stats:
    • 15.2 million unique viewers (This is just a little less than Thursday Night Football(17.6M) but more than the NFL sees on average for Monday Night Football (13.5M) If it were a TV audience it would have been one of the Top 10 audiences for all programs for the week in the United States)
    • 33.6 million video streams
    • Over 460 million total minutes of video consumed
    • Roughly 33% of audience was international (that’s over 5 million viewers outside the United States)
  • Seven expects Australian Open streaming to top previous year, Max Mason, The Sydney Morning Herald, (14 December 2015). In a massive bid for viewership, Seven West Media will stream a staggering 2100 hours of Tennis across the Australian Open, Hopman Cup, Brisbane and Sydney International tournaments and the Kooyong Classic.
  • TV networks pay up big for sport but internet threatens, Andrew Robertson, ABC news, (19 August 2015). All the talk may be about billion dollar deals for the free-to-air networks to broadcast the AFL and NRL, but the digital future is already taking shape and, with it, a threat to the networks' supremacy.
  • The internet of things is revolutionising the world of sport, Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian, (2 March 2015). The pioneering use of technology in sport is fundamentally changing how matches are played and watched. 
  • How YouTube could change the way we broadcast sport in Australia, Marc C-Scott, Sydney Morning Herald (22 June 2015). Australian rugby league games could be heading online following reports the National Rugby League (NRL) has been in discussions with Google as part of the sporting organisation’s latest media rights. The discussions are said to be associated with having NRL games broadcast via Google’s YouTube video website. 

Increasingly, those sports that are unable to sell sports rights through established means are resorting to direct internet broadcasts either through their own production units or in conjunction with associated internet companies. Hockey, as a sport has been proactive in this space:

  • FIH Livesport—Livesport.TV is your official online broadcaster for Hockey and has been created in partnership with the International Field Hockey Federation (FIH), the global governing body of field hockey. LIVESPORT.TV is the official online broadcaster in your country, this means you can be confident of enjoying high quality streaming, reliable content and match commentary.
  • Hockey Australia YouTube channel

At present, programming streamed over the internet is classified under the Broadcasting Act as data casting rather than broadcasting. It is therefore not subject to regulatory restrictions such as anti-siphoning rules. 

Mobile devices

Mobile phones depend on mobile networks such as 4G and its successor LTE (long term evolution). Activity is currently still regulated by communications legislation. The speed of transmission via early mobile telephony as well as the cost of data downloads meant that sport consumption was at first restricted to sending of very short video clips of generally poor quality rather than live or near-live coverage. Today’s mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets can use cloud computing and wireless internet connectivity with internet browsing by branded apps to deliver on-demand, customised online video access.

  • What 5G Means For Sports, Archie Woodhead, InCrowd, (12 October 2015). Most solutions are expensive and it is often difficult to justify the cost of a Wi-Fi install. The advent of 5G, due to be released in South Korea in 2018 will dramatically change connectivity and as a result in stadia fan engagement. 
  • More fans use mobile devices to access live sports content, but there’s room for growth—in its Sports and Technology Study, 6th Edition, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Annie Freier, Business of Apps, (May 2015), finds that 3 per cent of sports fans reported an interest in using their mobile devices to stream live sports. Television remains the most popular method of watching sports (90 per cent). 40% of respondents had accessed content digitally in the past 12 months using their laptops, smartphones or tablets, whilst 19 per cent had consumed sports through Facebook or Twitter. 

Mobile service operators or carriers such as Telstra and Optus derive revenues from data downloaded and stored and from selling subscription and pay-per-view services offering anytime, anywhere access to sport content. Offering rich media content such as sport is a strategy to drive consumers to upgrade their devices and subscriptions in order to access this. Branded apps are also a revenue source for sporting organisations and increase consumer engagement as they offer additional data – examples are the AFL Footy live and Tennis Australia apps

  • Digital Sports Coverage Is Getting Animated, Sport Industry Biz. Successful social media is built on moments that unite a fanbase or audience. Photos and reaction are shared instantly to millions of followers, while new platforms such as SnappyTV and Grabyo and advances in affordable mobile technology have broken down many of the barriers to getting quality video content out quickly. 

NRL Broadcast Rights 

The Australian Rugby League Commission has announced a five-year broadcasting agreement with Nine and Fox Sports that will invest more than $1billion in the future of the code.

The largest agreement in Rugby League’s history delivers national television exposure across all games, advanced scheduling, increased programming, key broadcast innovations and leaves the Commission free to pursue further significant broadcasting revenues in New Zealand and through mobile and other on-line properties. [source: NRL media November 2015] 

  • NRL clubs to get extra $100m per year following bumper broadcast deal, AAP/The Guardian, (3 December 2015). NRL clubs will receive an extra $100 million a year of funding from 2018 to 2022 after coming to terms with the game’s governing body. Around $100 million more will be invested to grow the game from the grassroots to the elite competitions each year.
  • How Nine renegotiated its record NRL rights deal, Dominic White, Sydney Morning Herald (30 November 2015). Nine Entertainment Co's new chief executive Hugh Marks was dining with the free-to-air broadcaster's Queensland executive team at Asian restaurant Madam Wu's overlooking Brisbane's Story Bridge on Wednesday evening when the call came.
  • Nine plays impressive game to trim NRL bill, Dominic White, Sydney Morning Herald, (27 November 2015). Nine Entertainment Co has pulled off an impressive encore with the renegotiation of its National Rugby League broadcast deal.
  • News Corp stumps up almost $1b to salvage NRL rights, Max Mason, Dominic White and John Stensholt, Sydney Morning Herald, (26 November 2015). Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation will spend almost $1 billion to salvage crucial pay television rights to broadcast the National Rugby League in what will be a record $1.8 billion five-year deal for the code, including free-to-air and digital rights for Nine Entertainment Co and digital subscription rights for Telstra.
  • NRL broadcast rights deal announcedNRL media, (27 November 2015). Rugby League will reach more fans than ever before – both in Australia and globally – under a massive new NRL broadcast deal. 
  • NRL TV deal worth $1.9 billion if Nine sell-out to Fox Sports, Roy Masters, Sydney Morning Herald, (12 November 2015). Should Channel Nine surrender the right to broadcast Saturday night matches, in exchange for a payment of $40m per year from Fox Sports, a $1.9 billion NRL TV deal from 2018 to 2022 is likely.  


As with traditional print media, radio has had to embrace the changes brought about by convergent technologies. Sport on the radio has been a staple diet of Australia from its early days, and radio broadcasters – while not as significant as television – still pay for the right to broadcast sport. In recent times, the ability to access internet radio has meant that sporting events that are broadcast around the world can easily be received by enable devices. Although geo-blocking hampers this process eg BBC local coverage of the EPL. Digital radio is being introduced to supplement existing radio services in Australia, rather than a replacement technology. 

One interesting development has been sports organisations’ ownership of digital rights, for example Cricket Australia maintained its digital streaming rights in its most recent media right deal so that it could broadcast its product through its own online channels, and restrict other media – such as ABC radio – from streaming live radio broadcast through theirs. 

  • Howzat! ABC radio loses exclusive cricket rights, Chris Barrett, Sydney Morning Herald, (4 August 2014). The ABC will lose its exclusive rights to Test cricket in Australia, with radio stations 2UE and 3AW to cover the game alongside the national broadcaster, starting with this summer’s Ashes series.  

Digital radio sets feature visual displays for text and image, as well as information such as artist and song title. Other developments in the future might include advertising, weather, news or event information. Digital radio as a portable media device may also include video clips and streaming interviews that could supplement the coverage of sporting events.

This means that sound-only media will ultimately be replaced, and the ways in which we consume and contribute to this media will be radically altered. At present, digital radio in Europe is described as an 'Internet sibling'. We seem to be heading towards a point at which print, online, radio, film and television media converge. Paul Venzo, Digital Killed the Radio Star, Metro magazine No. 15.


The Role of Print Media 

The relationship between traditional print media and sport is a long one, but over the past decade there has been a rationalisation of press coverage of sport through the convergence of new technologies. There has been a decline in the number of people reading newspapers and most media organisation now organise their coverage of events through print as well as via internet editions. This allows for a more interactive approach to the coverage of sport and means that recorded highlights of matches, player interviews etc can be used to compliment the traditional match outcomes.

Convergence of media platforms and services is now a feature of all established media, as well as being a core feature of new media. In the case of news media, for example, the top five Australian online news sites (the top five online news sites were,,, and all rank among the top 25 Australian websites in terms of site visits, and an estimated 4.35 million users per month access content from at least one of these sites [Source: Media Convergence and the Transformed Media Environment, Australian Law Commission, 2013].

With the increasing pace of news cycles, traditional print media cannot keep pace with its associated technologies that can deliver new and regularly up-dated content generated by dedicated journalists. However, there is evidence that coverage in traditional print newspapers is still valued by sponsors, however there is evidence that the strong relationship print media have enjoyed with sports organisations is declining.

  • The trouble with football and the media, Michael Cockerill, Sydney Morning Herald, (30 December 2016). My New Year's wish for football? I'll make it personal. Football needs to reboot its relationship with professional media, a fourth estate which, believe it or not, still has a vital role to play in shaping the destiny of the game.
  • Access, agenda building and information subsidies: Media relations in professional sport, Merryn Sherwood, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, (March 2016). While much research has examined the composition of sport media and those charged with constructing it, namely sport journalists and editors, far less has explored an essential set of actors in the construction of news: sources. This study aimed to explore the construction of the sport media agenda from arguably the most important sport news sources: sport media relations managers. In particular, this paper asked: how do media staff in sports organisations influence the production of news? To answer this question, this paper is based on a qualitative, observational study of a professional Australian Rules football club in Australia, involving interviews, observations and document analysis. Research within a professional Australian Rules football club found that the club delivered high-quality information subsidies that met sports journalists’ newswork requirements. However, media access was almost solely limited to these information subsidies, which are highly subjective and negotiated, which in turn allowed the professional football club to significantly control the subsequent media agenda. 

Brands are important for creating business value, and for the highly competitive sport market this is no exception. Resilient and strong brands command customer loyalty and can attract premium prices, constituting valuable assets that can assist in driving revenue and growth. They are central to many sports business transactions, especially in the negotiating of media deals, sponsorship agreements, product merchandising and athlete promotion.

  • The Monetary Value That Under Armour And Nike Earned During The NBA Finals, Taylor Bloom, SportTechie, (20 July 2016). This year’s NBA Finals will not soon be forgotten. The league’s two best teams, the Cavaliers and Warriors, and two best players, Lebron James and Steph Curry, met in an epic clash that resulted in James cementing his legacy in NBA lore. From a brand perspective the matchup also pitted Under Armour vs Nike on an enormous global stage 

Professional sports not only compete amongst themselves but against the market place for consumer spend and therefore the linkage between achieving a recognisable brand image and the role of the promotion of the sport through media rights is symbiotic.

It is not only sports that focus upon the creation and maintenance of a brand image, sport broadcasters are also happy to claim to be the dominant media sports broadcasters e.g. Nine and Fox. 

  • Brand Love, Brand Image and Loyalty in Australian Elite Sport, (PDF  PDF document - 592 KB), Sarah Broadbent, Kerrie Bridson, Lesley Ferkins, Ruth Rentschler, Deakin University, (2014). This paper aims to contribute to the current brand and sport marketing literature by conceptualising the relationship between brand image, brand love and loyalty within Australian elite sport. The context for this study is an investigation of Australian football and more specifically its teams. Sport teams are seeking to enhance profits through marketing strategies targeted at driving supporter loyalty. Such teams are marketing their identities as a brand in an attempt to create a unique team personality in order to achieve a competitive advantage over other teams. But team or brand personality and its relationship with loyalty do not operate in isolation and the introduction of brand love to the conceptual model seeks to better explain variations in loyalty performance. This paper presents a holistic conceptual model and subsequent research propositions.
  • Brand Image and Fan Loyalty in Professional Team Sport: A Refined Model and Empirical Assessment, (PDF  PDF document - 861 KB), Hans H. Bauer, Nicola E. Stokburger-Sauer, and Stefanie Exler University of Mannheim, (2008). This study highlights the importance of brand image for fan loyalty in team sport. A parsimonious 4-factor, 20-indicator structure effectively represents brand image. In contrast to Keller’s proposed model, relationships between the brand image’s components were discovered. Thus, in line with means-end theory, a brand-image model should incorporate causalities among brand attributes, benefits, and attitudes. Fan loyalty is positively influenced by a fan’s brand attitude. Relationships among the brand-image dimensions and loyalty are confirmed via structural equation modelling. The non-product-related brand attributes (i.e., logo or tradition) have a particularly large impact on attitudes and behaviour. They represent promising starting points for a successful and differentiating team brand strategy.
For more information and resources, please refer to the Social Media and Sport portfolio.

Sports broadcasting operates in the highly regulated Australian communications environment under legislation which predates many of the developments in digital media, in particular convergence and cloud computing.

  • Major reforms to support Australian broadcasters, Australian Government, Department of Communications and the Arts (6 May 2017). The Government will work with industry to introduce new restrictions on gambling advertisements during live sports broadcasts. The new restriction will ban gambling advertisements from five minutes before the commencement of play until five minutes after the conclusion of play or 8:30pm, whichever comes sooner. The reform package will also amend Australia’s anti-siphoning regime to reduce the size of the list and update other parts of the scheme, whilst ensuring that iconic sporting events of national significance are retained. Further information on the proposed reform package can be found on the Department of Communications & the Arts website
  • Government could slash gambling ads during TV sport to win critical crossbench votes, Matthew Knott, Canberra Times, (16 March 2017). The Turnbull government is considering a major crackdown on gambling ads during TV sporting events as it seeks to strike a deal with the Senate crossbench to water down Australia's media ownership laws. Nick Xenophon, whose votes will be crucial for media ownership reform to pass the Parliament, is using a ban on betting ads during sporting broadcasts as a bargaining chip in his negotiations with the government.
  • Updating Australia's media laws, Australian Government, Department of Communications, (1 March 2016). The Government has announced the most significant reforms to Australia's media laws in a generation, supporting the viability of our local organisations as they face increasing global competition in a rapidly changing digital landscape. At this point in time changes to the anti-siphoning list are not part of this package as there is no consensus as to what the change should look like. 

The current provisions of the legislation seek to protect the national interest (with sport broadcasting viewed as a public good and key sporting events guaranteed as available on free-to-air television for viewing by the general public) and also the rights of content owners, distributors and consumers. Legislation framed at a time when the content delivery platforms for radio and television broadcasting, telephony and the internet were separate and distinct continues to be tested.

The anti-siphoning scheme aims to give free-to-air broadcasters the first opportunity to bid to show major sporting events included on an anti-siphoning list.

The key events (as at April 2017) that are currently covered under the rules are:

Olympic Games

1.1              Each event held as part of the Summer Olympic Games, including the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony, except for:

1.2              Each event held as part of the Winter Olympic Games, including the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony.

Commonwealth Games

2.1              Each event held as part of the Commonwealth Games, including the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony.

Horse Racing

3.1              Each running of the Melbourne Cup organised by the Victoria Racing Club.

Australian Rules Football

4.1              Each match in the Australian Football League Premiership competition, including the Finals Series, except for:

                     (a)  all matches to be played as part of the 2017 Australian Football League Premiership competition, including the Finals Series but excluding the Grand Final.

Rugby League Football

5.1              Each match in the National Rugby League Premiership competition, including the Finals Series, except for:

                     (a)  any of those matches to be played between 2 March 2017 and 23 July 2017. 

5.2              Each match in the National Rugby League State of Origin Series. except for:

                     (a)  any of those matches to be played between 31 May 2017 and 12 July 2017.

5.3              Each international rugby league “test” match involving the senior Australian representative team, played in Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom, except for:

                     (a)  the match to be played on 5 May 2017.

5.4              Each match of the Rugby League World Cup involving the senior Australian representative team.

Rugby Union Football

6.1              Each international “test” match involving the senior Australian representative team selected by the Australian Rugby Union, played in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or Europe, except for:

                     (a)  the matches to be played in Australia on 11 June 2016, 18 June 2016 and 25 June 2016 between the senior Australian representative team selected by the Australian Rugby Union and the senior English representative team.

6.2              Each match in the quarter‑finals, semi‑finals and the final of the Rugby World Cup tournament, except for:

                     (a)  any match to be played as part of the 2015 Rugby World Cup tournament that is a quarter‑final, semi‑final or final.

6.3              Each match of the Rugby World Cup tournament involving the senior Australian representative team selected by the Australian Rugby Union, except for:

                     (a)  any match to be played as part of the 2015 Rugby World Cup tournament involving the senior Australian representative team selected by the Australian Rugby Union.


7.1              Each “test” match involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia played in Australia, except for:

                     (a)  each “test” match played between 3 November 2016 and 7 January 2017.

7.2              Each “test” match involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia and the senior English representative team, played in the United Kingdom.

7.3              Each one day cricket match involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia played in Australia, except for:

                     (a)  each one day cricket match played between 4 December 2016 and 26 January 2017.

7.4              Each Twenty20 cricket match involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia played in Australia, except for:

                     (a)  each Twenty20 cricket match involving the men’s senior Australian representative team played between 26 January 2016 and 31 January 2016; and,

                     (b)  each Twenty20 cricket match involving the women’s senior Australian representative team played between 26 January 2016 and 31 January 2016.

7.5              Each match in the semi‑finals and the final of the International Cricket Council One Day International World Cup.

7.6              Each match of the International Cricket Council One Day International World Cup involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia.

7.7              The final of the International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup, except for: 

                     (a)  the final of the 2016 International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup.

7.8              Each match of the International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup involving the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia, except for:

                     (a)  any of those matches to be played as part of the 2016 International Cricket Council Twenty20 World Cup.


8.1              The English Football Association Cup final.

8.2              Each match of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup tournament.

8.3              Each match in the Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup Qualification tournament involving the senior Australian representative team selected by the Football Federation Australia, except for:

                     (a)  the matches to be played between 6 October 2016 and 5 September 2017.


9.1              Each match in the Australian Open tennis tournament, except for:

                     (a)  any match held as part of the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Australian Open tennis tournaments that is not a men’s or women’s singles final.

9.2              Each match in the men’s and women’s singles quarter‑finals, semi‑finals and finals of the Wimbledon (the Lawn Tennis Championships) tournament, except for:

                     (a)  any of those matches held as part of the 2016 Wimbledon tennis tournament.

9.3              Each match in the men’s and women’s singles quarter‑finals, semi‑finals and finals of the United States Open tennis tournament, except for:

                     (a)  any matches held as part of the 2016 United States Open tennis tournament.

9.4              Each match in each tie of the International Tennis Federation Davis Cup World Group tennis tournament involving an Australian representative team, except for:

                     (a)  any match in any tie of the 2017 International Tennis Federation Davis World Cup Group tennis tournament involving an Australian representative team.


10.1            Each international netball match involving the senior Australian representative team selected by the All Australian Netball Association, played in Australia or New Zealand, except for:

(a)    the matches to be played on 31 August 2016, 4 September 2016, 9 October 2016 and 12 October 2016 involving the senior Australian representative team.

10.2            A semi‑final of the Netball World Cup if it involves the senior Australian representative team selected by the All Australian Netball Association.

10.3            The final of the Netball World Cup if it involves the senior Australian representative team selected by the All Australian Netball Association.


11.1            Each round of the Australian Masters tournament, played as part of the Professional Golfers Association Tour of Australasia, except for:

                       a)  each round of the 2015 Australian Masters tournament, played as part of the Professional Golfers Association Tour of Australasia.

11.2            Each round of the Australian Open tournament, played as part of the Professional Golfers Association Tour of Australasia except for:

                       a)  each round of the 2015 and 2016 Australian Open tournament, played as part of the Professional Golfers Association Tour of Australasia.

11.3            Each round of the United States Masters tournament, played as part of the Professional Golfers Association Tour, except for:

                       a)  each round of the 2017 United States Masters tournament, played as part of the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour.

Motor Sports

12.1            Each race in the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile Formula 1 World Championship (Grand Prix) held in Australia.

12.2            Each race in the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme Moto GP held in Australia, except for:

                     (a)  each race in the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme Moto GP held in Australia in 2016.

12.3            Each race in the V8 Supercars Championship Series, including the Bathurst 1000.

The scheme currently stops pay television broadcasters from buying the rights to events on the anti-siphoning list before free-to-air broadcasters have the opportunity to purchase the rights. The anti-siphoning list includes events the Communications Minister believes should be made available free to the general public.

It is instructive that the Murdoch media in particular keep pushing to roll back/remove anti-siphoning and make other major changes to broadcasting. This and previous government continue to consider the issues, but at present deems it to be too politically sensitive to make any substantive changes to the current regulation.

  • Anti-siphoning and reform on agenda, but not this year [paywall], Jake Mitchell, The Australian, (28 November 2016). The Turnbull government is ­considering reviewing the anti-­siphoning list to win industry ­support and deliver genuine ­reform of decades-old ownership and control laws.
  • Media reform needed to protect our culture and society [paywall], Peter Tonagh, The Australian, (17 October 2016). It’s not surprising, as a Senate committee examines the media reform bill, that many chief executives are arguing for change that seeks to benefit their own organisations in the short term. But what would happen if we, as an industry, took a holistic, principles-based approach?
  • Watch This Space: Doc Martin on media reform bill — business as usual? Martin Hurst, Independent Australia, (10 September 2016). Dr Martin Hirst deconstructs the Federal Parliament's long overdue media reform bill, due to report back to the Senate in November, and clues us in who wins, who loses, and where it leaves us — the public 

Sport broadcasting has been the subject of numerous government reviews and vigorous lobbying is undertaken by sporting organisations, media content and service providers, consumer groups and other interested parties. The anti-siphoning legislation which seeks to guarantee access to major sporting events on free-to-air television has been viewed by some parties as anti-competitive. The adequacy of existing copyright legislation to protect the ability of rights holders to enter into exclusive licensing deals is also under challenge.

  • Media reform: Cricket Australia eyes anti-siphoning changes [paywall], Jake Mitchell, The Australian, (16 October 2016). Cricket Australia is planning to lobby the Turnbull government to gain more flexibility over short-form international matches on the anti-­siphoning list as it prepares to open talks on a new rights deal.
  • No plans for Australian anti-siphoning to cover digital companies, telcos, Sport Business, (6 September 2016). Australia’s government has no plans to expand the remit of the so-called anti-siphoning list to include digital-media players and telecommunications companies.
  • Consultation Paper - Digital Television Regulation, (PDF  PDF document - 361 KB), COMPPS, (March 2015). The Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports and its members submissions in relation to the Department of Communications’ Consultation Paper on Digital Television Regulation.
  • To Siphon or Not to Siphon, (PDF  PDF document - 761 KB), Dr Rhonda Jolly, Parliamentary Library, (February 2010). This paper traces the history of the anti-siphoning regime in Australia. It discusses its development and explores the arguments for and against its retention, both in past context and in relation to a current government inquiry into the relevance of the scheme in a changing 21st century media environment. 
  • Senate Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts Inquiry into the reporting of sports news and the emergence of digital media. Australian Government Response to the Committee’s Report. On 12 February 2009, the Senate referred the matter of the reporting of sports news and the emergence of digital media to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts for inquiry and report by 14 May 2009 (the Senate Inquiry). The Senate Inquiry received 44 submissions, the majority of which were from either sporting or media organisations. On 14 May 2009, the Committee tabled its report to the President of the Senate. The report made five recommendations, which considered: the Independent Sport Panel’s review and recommendations; copyright; media access to sporting events negotiations; and consideration of an industry code to aid in dispute resolution between media and sporting organisations.
  • Reconfiguring Media Sport for the Online World: An Inquiry Into “Sports News and Digital Media”, Brett Hutchins and David Rowe, International Journal of Communication,(2010). This article examines a pioneering intervention by government in the control and ownership of media sport under prevailing networked digital media conditions. The 2009 Australian Senate Inquiry into “Sports News and the Emergence of Digital Media” provided a political forum for debate among 44 participants, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the World Association of Newspapers. The participation of these and other international organizations demonstrated that this national inquiry was of global significance in regulatory and commercial debates over how the “media sport content economy” might operate in the digital age. Our analysis focuses on the causes of the disagreements that prompted the Inquiry, which demonstrated that emerging media sport markets are characterized by complex interaction, tense competition, and awkward overlaps between broadcast media and networked digital communications. This situation has disturbed the established media sport order and destabilized pivotal organizing categories, including the definition of “sports news.”
  • Sport on television: A review of the anti-siphoning scheme in the contemporary digital environment Review report, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (November 2009). On 20 August 2009, the then Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, released a public discussion paper—Sport on Television: A review of the anti-siphoning scheme in the contemporary digital environment. The discussion paper sought public comment on a range of matters relevant to the operation and effectiveness of the anti-siphoning scheme, including the purpose of the scheme, the composition of the anti-siphoning list, coverage of listed events, the use of digital television multi-channels and sport on new media platforms. 
  • ACCC clears way for Foxtel to buy 15pc stake in TenABC news, (22 October 2016). The competition watchdog is allowing pay-TV operator Foxtel to buy a large chunk of Network Ten, despite concerns the deal may lessen competition. 
  • ACCC holds up Foxtel's Ten bid over sport, Stuart Condie, Northern Territory News, (14 September 2015). The competition watchdog has held up Foxtel's bid for a 15 per cent stake in Network Ten over concerns that the pay-TV giant is trying to get around Australia's anti-siphoning rules to show more sport.
  • Anti-siphoning shakeup: Tony Abbott meets with Foxtel chief over sports rights, Dominic White, Sydney Morning Herald, (27 April 2015).
  • Britain's top sports commit to free-to-air television, Matt Slater, BBC Sport, (10 September 2015).
  • Rupert Murdoch lobbies against anti-siphoning laws but Government warned, Leigh Sales, ABC 7.30 Report, (24 March 2015).
  • TV networks divided over sports rights reform, Dominic White, Sydney Morning Herald, (28 September 2015).

United Kingdom

Overseas Regulation

  • UK Court Backs Sports Rights Holders In Ground-Breaking Social Video Decision, Jody MacDonald,  SportTechie, (March 30 2016). In a decision which will be of interest to fans and sports media professionals in the UK and overseas, the English High Court has found that a service publishing 8 second clips of sports broadcasts infringed copyright and could not make use of the defence of fair dealing for the purpose of reporting current events.  

Department of Communications

The Department advises the Australian Government about the communications industry—television, radio, Internet, phone, post, and the changes in digital technologies. It undertakes analysis, provides advice and develops and delivers programmes so Australians can enjoy the benefits of modern communications. 

The Department of Communications currently governs the Code of Reporting for Sports News in Australia – a voluntary code which guarantees Australian media outlets access to the sports contest for the purpose of news. 

National Broadband Network

The National Broadband Network, nbn (the company) was established on 9 April, 2009 to design, build and operate Australia's new broadband network. nbn is a wholly-owned Commonwealth company - a Government Business Enterprise - and is represented by Shareholder Ministers; the Minister for Communications and the Minister of Finance. The roll out of the nbn is a major factor in the up-take of watching sporting events via mobile technology as a fast and reliable connection speed is required.

  • Nbn And The Future Of Streaming Sports Online, Optus news. Australia’s armchair athletes have never had it so good. Many of the world’s most popular sports offer excellent video streaming services for Aussies. From footy to the wacky sport of chess boxing, you can stream almost any sport from around the world online. And now the NBN is set to make a good thing even better
  • The future of sports delivery in Australia: NBN multicast, IPTV and the role of the ISPsTelsoc, (November 2013). Where lucrative media rights deals for sports content currently lie primarily with pay TV and FTA broadcasters, ISPs entering the content delivery market through partners such as Fetch TV may be better placed to compete for distribution rights to sporting and other live events. In response to this shifting environment this paper outlines the technological capacities of NBN-based multicast IPTV, and examines public comment and interview data from ISPs, sports organisations and NBN Co. regarding their intentions for IPTV delivery. This paper begins with the assumption that diversity in these emerging media forms remains important as ISPs enter the media content market. We demonstrate, however, that despite the emergence of NBN-based technologies, diversity in sports content distribution cannot be assumed. The paper points toward the important role that regulators, such as the ACCC, have in maintaining diversity and competition in IPTV services.

Attorney General's Department

The Attorney-General's Department delivers programs and policies to maintain and improve Australia's law and justice framework, strengthen our national security and emergency management. Through the Australian Government Solicitor, we also provide legal services to the Commonwealth (including legal advice and representation). From a broadcasting and media perspective the Department oversees the intellectual property and copyright legislation.

  • Copyright and Sport Broadcasting in Australia and England, Chris Davies, Bond University, (2012). Television rights are an essential component of the revenue generated by professional sporting leagues, and protecting the copyright in the broadcasting of matches is therefore of significant importance to these leagues. A Federal Court decision has held that there had been in breach of copyright when Optus allowed its mobile phone users to access matches on a two minute delay. However, European and English Courts have held that the plaintiff’s copyright only existed in the anthem, graphics and recorded highlights, not in the actual matches.
  • Sporting codes push for copyright law reform, Danny Morgan, ABC PM, (15 April 2009). Australia's major sporting codes want copyright laws changed to protect the billions of dollars in revenue generated from the photographs and television footage taken at major sporting events. The AFL, Cricket Australia, the NRL and Tennis Australia have told a Senate inquiry the copyright law is ambiguous and is being exploited by media organisations. But the media say the sporting bodies don't own the pictures and can't dictate what the public sees.
  • 'A Spectacle Cannot Be Owned': A History Of The Uneasy Relationship Between Copyright And Sport In Australia, Bond, Catherine, Australian & New Zealand Sports Law Journal , Vol. 8 Issue 1, (2013). The relationship between copyright and sport has attracted much media and legal attention in the 2012 to 2013 period, with changes in the reporting of control and access to sports content. Limited Olympic coverage; reported arguments during the re-negotiation of television, radio, online and mobile broadcasting arrangements; and the Singtel Optus v National Rugby League Investments litigation have highlighted for the Australian public the complex and expensive difficulties that arise in the interaction between copyright law and sport. However, this article illustrates that this is not a modern phenomenon: copyright and sport in Australia have always had an 'uneasy' relationship, with sporting organisations regularly demanding more from copyright law than that area was willing to provide. Through an exploration of case law, archival materials and government reports, this article considers two examples -- copyright in sports information and compilations, and copyright in sporting events -- in a historical context. This examination demonstrates that, despite this tension, copyright and sport have always had a symbiotic relationship and each has had an impact on the development of the other in Australia.

Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

The ACMA promotes self-regulation and competition in the communications industry. The Publications and Research area of the ACMA website contains useful reports.  

  • The ACMA registers new Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice. The Australian Communications and Media Authority has agreed to register a new Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, submitted by Free TV, the industry group representing commercial free-to-air broadcasters. ‘The code now reflects the contemporary media environment, is expressed in a user-friendly and simpler form and, importantly, contains a package of community safeguards appropriate in this new environment,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. Some of the key points for the sport sector include:
    • No alcohol advertisements in the evening before 8.30 pm (unless as an accompaniment to a sports program on a weekend or public holiday)
    • A ban on gambling advertisements in any program classified G, C or P between 6.00 am and 8.30 am and between 4.00 pm and 7.00 pm (as well as during any program broadcast between 5.00 am and 8.30 pm which is principally directed to children)
    • A requirement that all advertising and program promotions broadcast between 7.30 and 8.30 pm during a sports program or programs classified G or PG be classified no higher than PG 

Productivity Commission

The Commission provides independent research and advice to Government on economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians.

A public inquiry examined the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. The Government asked the Commission to pay particular attention to balancing the social, cultural and economic dimensions of the public interest and have due regard to the phenomenon of technological convergence to the extent that it may impact upon broadcasting markets. Chapter 12 concerns the television broadcasting of sport and the migration of sport to pay TV.

The advent of subscription services such as pay television and more recently IPTV was accompanied by the capacity and willingness of owners to pay high prices for premium sports content in order to drive subscriptions. This created anxiety that coverage of sports events of mass appeal would migrate (be ‘siphoned’) to the new platforms. Chapter 12 of the report of the Productivity Commission (2000) concerns the television broadcasting of sport and the migration of sport to pay TV. 

According to the Future of Sport in Australia Report (Commonwealth of Australia, Independent Sport Panel, October 2009):

Broadcasting rights are a major source of non-government revenue for Australian sport. The challenge for small sports is the same challenge that small competitors face in every industry, which is to grow market share in environments where the larger competitors have long established positions… digital technologies can potentially have an impact on the commercial value of content, as it is almost impossible to maintain exclusivity of rights on the internet. A balance is needed between the ability of sports to protect their commercial rights and generate funds to promote their sport, and reasonable access to content for news reporting for media outlets. There needs to be an appropriate balance between the public’s right to access alternative sources of information using new types of digital media, and the rights of sporting organisations to control or limit access to ensure a fair commercial return. The Future of Sport in Australia Report 

  • The regulation of television sports broadcasting: a comparative analysis, Smith, P., Evens, T., & Iosifidis, P. Media, Culture & Society, (2015). Based on seven different sports broadcasting markets (Australia, Brazil, Italy, India, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States), this article provides a comparative analysis of the regulation of television sports broadcasting. The article examines how contrasting perspectives on television and sport – economic and sociocultural – have been reflected in two main approaches to the regulation of sports broadcasting, namely competition law and major events legislation. The results of this analysis suggest that in many cases, the balance between commerce and culture in sports broadcasting has shifted too far in favour of the commercial interests of dominant pay-TV operators and sports organisations. Here, the case is made for the pursuit of an approach to sports broadcasting regulation that seeks to balance the commercial priorities of broadcasters and sports organisations with the wider socio-cultural benefits citizens gain from free-to-air sports broadcasting. 

Australian sport has a long history of its products being a central tenant of broadcasting scheduling. The dispute between Kerry Packer and the Australian Cricket Board in the late 70’s changed the face of major sport in Australia through the increased broadcast revenues that ultimately flowed through to the sport and in particular the players for the first time.

  • How Packer's revolution changed cricket, Philip Barker, Inside the Games, (27 February 2017). Forty years ago, cricketers past and present were making their way to Melbourne for a special match to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Test cricket. The match itself was a thrilling spectacle in which Australia beat England by 45 runs, exactly as they had done in the very first such encounter in March 1877. Forty years ago, cricketers past and present were making their way to Melbourne for a special match to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Test cricket. The match itself was a thrilling spectacle in which Australia beat England by 45 runs, exactly as they had done in the very first such encounter in March 1877
  • The 1970s cricket ‘revolution’: a beginner’s guide, Bob Stewart, The Conversation, (27 August 2012). With the introduction of colour television into Australia in 1975, and the overwhelming success of the ABC’s live telecast of the 1975 World Cup One-Day Cricket final from London, Packer could see the potential of cricket to enhance Channel Nine’s ratings figures. 

Since the Packer cricket revolution the value of broadcasting rights have increased as FTA networks, PTV channels and increasingly mobile internet operators vie for what is seen as a valuable asset.

  • Special Report: Sports broadcasting in 2015Sports Pro. In this special report from the October 2015 edition of SportsPro magazine, hear from senior figures from the world of sports broadcasting and media rights ahead of this year's Sportel convention in Monaco. 
  • Are sport broadcast rights worth the money, Heath McDonald, The Conversation, (20 February 2015). Negotiations are due to get underway for the right to broadcast AFL games from 2017-2021 and the reasoning goes, stakes for free-to-air networks have never been higher. Thus, the price tag will surely follow.

Recent examples of how Australian and overseas major sports have been able to leverage their broadcast content include:



Here's The Real Reasons NFL TV Ratings Will Continue Downward, Maury Brown, Forbes, (15 November 2016). Ever since the 2016 NFL season began, analysts have tried to come up with the reasons that television ratings have been down. Everything from Colin Kaepernick and players protesting the National Anthem, to a strong MLB postseason, to the election, and more has been bandied about.

Is the unthinkable happening – are people finally switching the football off? Owen Gibson, The Guardian, (24 October 2016). There is a complex picture beneath figures that show a marked decline in early season football viewing figures, and the big broadcasters must work out if this is a blip or a trend.

Broadcasting And Team Sports,(PDF  PDF document - 735 KB)  Roger Noll, University of Stanford, (February 2007). Television rights are the largest component of revenues for major sports in large, rich nations. Among these nations, the market structure for rights varies due to different competition policies towards sports and television. This essay examines how game coverage, revenues and competitive balance are affected by competition in commercial television and sales of rights. It argues that consumers are better off if television is competitive and leagues do not centralize rights sales. We conclude that centralization of rights sales does not improve competitive balance or benefit financially weak teams. Finally, while digital telecommunications are making television competitive, ending centralization of sales by leagues requires policy intervention. 

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Broadcasting Rights 

‘Broadcast coverage is the principal means for people around the world to experience the magic of the Olympic Games. The IOC is the owner of the global broadcast rights for the Olympic Games – including broadcasts on television, radio, mobile and internet platforms – and is responsible for allocating Olympic broadcast rights to media companies throughout the world through the negotiation of rights agreements’. [Source: IOC media, November 2015)

The broadcasting of Olympic Games is based upon the Olympic Charter that has as one of its goals to ensure that the events are covered in their fullest by as many differing media types as possible and made available to the widest audience. The IOC is the owner of the global broadcast rights for the Olympic Games – including broadcasts on television, radio, mobile and internet platforms – and is responsible for allocating Olympic broadcast rights to media companies throughout the world through the negotiation of rights agreements.

  • Olympic channel to launch on 21 August 2016, IOC media, (27 July 2016). New digital-first platform will be available anytime, anywhere and on any device, at the conclusion of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the launch date for its ground-breaking new media destination, the Olympic Channel, where fans can experience the power of sport and the Olympic Movement all year round. Starting Sunday 21 August, after the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the Olympic Channel platform will be available worldwide via a mobile app for Android and iOS devices and at
  • New Olympic Channel will change the way we watch sport forever – here’s how, Andy Miah, The Conversation, (19 August 2016). As the Rio 2016 games draw to an end, the Olympic Channel begins its life. Following its launch at the closing ceremony of the games, the channel will completely change how we consume television in the future. This new digital platform will operate 24/7 to fill the gap in between games with local, national, and international sporting events. The Olympic Channel is a world first in broadcast history, and may be the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) most strategic move for a decade. 

The commencement of Juan Antonio Samaranch’s Presidential mandate in 1980 saw a change in the way in which the Olympic Games were marketed. For the first time it was seen that there was significant capacity to raise revenue from broadcast rights sales, in particular to the American television market. Based on the change made to the Olympic Charter in 1971, he encouraged the IOC to take control over negotiations with television operators, albeit with the presence of host city representatives in the first instance. 

  • Seven confirms rights to broadcast next three Olympics across all platforms, mUmBrella, (5 August 2014). Seven has confirmed it has bought the rights to broadcast the next three Olympics across free-to-air, subscription TV, digital platforms and on radio. The agreement, which was rumoured last month, will see the network cover the Rio Games in 2016, the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018 and the Games in Tokyo in 2020. It also includes highlights coverage of the summer youth Olympics which begins in Nanjing later this month.
  • BBC Loses Olympic Games TV Rights From 2022, Sky News, (29 June 2015). The BBC has lost control of the rights to the Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee sealed a £920m pan-European deal with Discovery, the US broadcaster that owns Eurosport. Discovery Communications, which owns Eurosport, takes the spoils as the IOC awards rights for Europe rather than by country.
  • NBC Is Betting $7.65 Billion That It Knows What TV Will Look Like in 2032, Bloomberg Business, (9 May 2014). Fans of the Olympics are often in it for the tradition, and that includes NBC, the network that agreed to pay $7.65 billion for the rights to broadcast the games on television and online until 2032. The network has been accused at times of letting its Olympic spirit get in the way of its bottom line. Now it’s betting not only that it can make a good business of the games, but that it can do so while adjusting to the next 18 years of shifts in media consumption habits.

Olympic Broadcast Revenue Generation

Olympic broadcast partnerships have provided the Olympic Movement with a secure financial base and helped to ensure the future viability of the Olympic Games. Olympic broadcast partnerships have been the single greatest source of revenue for the Olympic Movement for more than three decades.

Olympic Games Broadcast Revenue (million)

1960 Rome US$1.2

1964 Tokyo US$1.6

1968 Mexico City US$9.8

1972 Munich US$17.8

1976 Montreal US$34.9

1980 Moscow US$88.0

1984 Los Angeles US$286.9

1988 Seoul US$402.6

1992 Barcelona US$636.1

1996 Atlanta US$898.3

2000 Sydney US$1,331.6

2004 Athens US$1,494.0

2008 Beijing US$1,739.0

2012 London US$2,569.0

Olympic Winter Games Broadcast Revenue (million)

1960 Squaw Valley US$0.051964

1964 Innsbruck US$0.9371968

1968 Grenoble US$2.61972

1972 Sapporo US$8.51976

1976 Innsbruck US$11.61980

1980 Lake Placid US$20.71984

1984 Sarajevo US$102.71988

1988 Calgary US$324.91992

1992 Albertville US$291.91994

1994 Lillehammer US$352.91998

1998 Nagano US$513.52002

2002 Salt Lake US$738.2006

2006 Turin US$831.2010

2010 Vancouver US$1,279.5

[Source: IOC Olympic Marketing Fact File (PDF  PDF document - 541 KB) 2013]

Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS)

The OBS is responsible for ensuring that the coverage of the Games is made available to the various international broadcast right holders and has been the permanent host broadcaster since 2001.

LIVE! Broadcasting the Olympic Games” Interactive documentary

Global Television reports from each Summer and Winter Games from 2000

Olympic Television Archive Bureau (OTAB)

OTAB manages the commercial processes of licensing Olympic footage and the associated symbols on behalf of the International Olympic Committee.

List of 2016 Summer Olympics broadcasters

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will be televised by a number of broadcasters throughout the world. As with previous years, Olympic Broadcasting Services will produce the world feed provided to local broadcasters for use in their coverage. In most regions, broadcast rights to the 2016 Summer Olympics were packaged together with those for the 2014 Winter Olympics, but some broadcasters obtained rights to further games as well. List of Broadcasters [Source: Wikipedia, December 2015] 

The ability to view and/or listen to coverage of a sporting event has moved beyond the traditional TV or radio set and the emergence of portable devices in conjunction with broadband have created new markets for sport broadcasting.

Sports broadcasting builds loyalty to channels and networks and this  helps underpin its appeal as high value content for television operators and other subscription services such as those offered by telecommunications operators. However, there is a growing trend away from traditional loyalty from mass audiences in favour of on-demand and more granular viewing by much more segmented groups, particularly younger consumers.

Simultaneous media consumption is also an emerging trend, as viewers supplement television viewing with online media, e.g. watching a live sports event on television while streaming match statistics from specialist sports sites online or by mobile device using apps or watching online while using social media to discuss the match with other fans. Sporting organisations and broadcasters are starting to respond to this changing environment by developing new business models to accommodate these preferences.

With the rapid changes in technology available to sporting organisation a number are now becoming their own broadcasters, either taking over production of the broadcast (ie, tennis), or through streaming their own product directly to consumers (NBL).

Sport and innovation through traditional and digital technology have often gone hand in hand. The advent of World Series Cricket saw the introduction of many new initiatives to the game such as multi-camera coverage, slow motion replay, stump cam, wireless microphones, instant replay etc. This innovation has continued in relation to the enhanced broadcasting of sporting events to include innovations such as Hawkeye, 3D TV and soon to be 4K content,  enhanced graphics and statistical information.

  • Rio Olympics Aftermath: Is Online Streaming the Way Of Our Sports-Viewing Future?SportTechie, (26 August 2016). Despite TV viewership for the games in Rio coming in at record lows this summer, online viewership was startlingly high. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, NBC’s streaming of the 2016 games in Rio came in at 1.86 billion minutes; that’s more than the 2014 winter and 2012 summer games (held in Sochi and London, respectively) combined! (Granted, the Rio games featured over 6,000 hours of online coverage, more than any other sporting event of its kind in history).
  • Sky Sports To Show 126 Premier League Matches In 4K This Season, Alex Stanley, SportTechie, (18 July 2016). Since 4K, otherwise known as Ultra HD, has begun to become a bit more common in households and the pricing has gone down a fair amount since the technology first debuted, it is only a matter of time before major sports will be seen in this newest definition.
  • How technology made everything better for a sports fan on the couch, Josh Elliot, The Roar, (28 October 2015). Sports and technology. It’s a combination that can seem a bit mismatched at first, but when you look at how far our sports viewing experience has come over time, it’s really quite amazing.
  • More than 15 million people tuned into Yahoo's first-ever live stream of an NFL game -- but there is a catch, Cork  Gaines, Business Insider Australia, (27 October 2015). Despite some people experiencing trouble with their web-based feed, Yahoo’s first foray into streaming an NFL game put up some big viewer numbers.
  • 14 Innovations That Changed Sports Broadcasting Forever, Business Insider, (18 April 2011). There’s some debate about who was the first to broadcast a sporting event over the airwaves and into people’s homes. It’s as if as many entities as possible want to claim that they were the ones who brought you a Jack Dempsey fight before someone else who also broadcast a Jack Dempsey fight. 
  • Recap: “The Evolution of Sports Media”, Sports and Tech Meetup (Bay Area), (6 December 2012). presented an all-star panel discussing: “The Evolution of Sports Media.”  The panel of entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and journalists discussed how technology and the natural disruption of markets are fundamentally changing how sports are presented and covered.
  • Seven’s coverage of The Australian Open 2015 gains international recognition, Media Week, (26 June 2015). Seven West Media’s innovative coverage of this year’s Australian Open has been recognised at the internationally regarded VideoNet Connected TV awards. 
  • Smash and Bash Cricket? Affective Technological Innvotations in the Big Bash, Sturm, D. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, (2015). Focusing on the Australian KFC T20 Big Bash League (BBL), this article explores the innovative televisual technologies that represent T20 cricket as an action packed ‘smash and bash’ spectacle. An array of innovative technologies is deployed to aesthetically and affectively re-present the BBL. Cameras and microphones are embedded within the field of play, operate in highly mobile and fluid ways, and are framed in close proximity to the action – particularly when placed on the players themselves. The BBL provides intersecting affective layers for viewer engagement built upon tools for analysis, sites of commodification, visual renditions of pseudo-player perspectives and an emphasis on fast-paced entertainment. By constructing degrees of sensory invigoration and vicarious involvement for both casual and invested viewers, these innovative technologies mobilise ‘smash and bash’ cricket as an effective televisual spectacle.

In Australian society ‘men’s sport’ is more likely to be featured in print and electronic media, providing a bias view of sport participation as a male oriented activity. The volume of sports coverage of female athletes compared to male athletes offers disproportionate exposure to male sporting activities on Australian television, despite the ongoing successes of Australian women in international sport.

  • W-League broadcasting breakthrough indicative of progress for women's sport, Daniela Intili, ABC Sport, (2 November 2016). The launch of the W-league's ninth season in Sydney illustrated how far the sport has come. The most significant announcement was that American sports broadcaster ESPN 3 will televise live W-League games in the USA.
  • It's time, [paywall] Kate Legge, The Australian, (2 July 2016). Netball has made the broadcasting big league. Is this a new dawn for women's sport?
  • French media coverage of women’s sport a cause célèbre, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, SBS/Zela, (16 June 2016). Coverage of women’s sport is low in Australia and around the world. In France, recent improvements have been made. What can we learn from their example?
  • AFL Women's league: Collingwood, Carlton among eight clubs in new national competitionABC sport, Stephanie Chalkley-Rhoden, ABC sport, (15 June 2016). Traditional rivals Collingwood and Carlton are among the eight clubs awarded a licence in the new AFL women's league, as the national competition takes another step towards its ground breaking first season.
  • Netball Australia confirms new eight-team division and bumper broadcasting deal, ABC sport, (19 May 2016). Collingwood, the Melbourne Storm and Greater Western Sydney have been confirmed as the new preferred bidders for brand new franchises in Australia's revamped netball competition. Netball Australia has announced a "breakthrough broadcasting deal" and three new teams to enter the new national netball league, as Australia's five current trans-Tasman franchises team up with three new teams to create a new eight-team all-Australian division.
  • Fact check: Did the 2015-16 Women's Big Bash League attract more viewers than the men's A-League? ABC Fact Check, (4 April 2016). "It's great to see that the viewership of the Women's Big Bash League — the numbers are greater than the A-League," Alex Blackwell, vice-captain of the Australian women's cricket team, said in an interview on the ABC's RN Drive program on February 9, 2016. Did more people watch the Women's Big Bash League cricket on television this season than the A-League men's football? ABC Fact Check looks at the numbers.
  • The revolution has arrived: six televised women's cricket matches in 11 days, Jesse Hogan, The Age, (22 January 2016). The watershed season for women's cricket will end in fitting fashion, with six matches broadcast live on free-to-air TV in 11 days. Network Ten's broadcasts of the two Women's Big Bash League semi-finals and the final will be followed by Nine Network providing live coverage of Australia's national team, the Southern Stars, in their three Twenty20 matches against India next week.

Coverage of women in sport made up only nine per cent of all sports coverage in Australian television news, while seven per cent of non-news television programming content was devoted to female sport. Male sport, on the other hand, occupied 81 per cent of television news reporting and 86 per cent of non-news programming. Television news reports about female sports on average were 30 seconds shorter than reports on male sports. The relatively low volume of reporting and comparatively low duration of air time given to female sport, when compared to women’s success and participation rates, implicitly give male sports more significance on Australian television. It is not only the quantity of coverage that can be seen as an issue but also the quality of the coverage and how women's sport is portrayed and broadcast.

It is worth noting that a recent women’s AFL match out-rated the men’s on the same weekend and this may be seen as a growing interest in viewing women’s sport.

For more information on this topic, please refer to the Clearinghouse for Sport portfolio Women’s Sport

Metaphors merge two seemingly incompatible images or concepts in an effort to create symbolism. Metaphors are frequently used in advertising as a way to enhance the perceived value of a product or to make it seem more personal. They can also help to create a particular brand image. An advertising metaphor often combines a verbal phrase with a visual image to dramatize the effect. Sport is often used as a metaphor in advertising in that life is being represented as a game with team, winners, losers rules, role models etc. 

Advertising of certain products via broadcast mediums is often regulated and this can have implications for the broadcasting of sport.

For more information, please refer to the the following portfolios

Sport is not only embracing disruptive technology but in many areas is leading the charge. Disruption related to sport and the media refers to changes enabled by digital technologies that occur at a pace and magnitude that disrupt established ways of value creation, social interactions, doing business and more generally our thinking.

  • Stadiums enter high-tech game and change way we watch live sport, Nick Sas, The West Australian, (5 July 2016). It is 2018. You’re sitting in your 50cm-wide beige seat on the centre-wing in Perth’s new stadium watching West Coast take on the Dockers in derby 47. As Andrew Gaff and Lachie Neale battle on the wing, you, along with 59,999 others, will be torn. Do you watch the game live? Or succumb to the temptation and look at the live action on your wi-fi-connected iPhone 7s, including live statistical analysis and graphics. And there will be other distractions.The stadium will have 240sqm mega-screens at either end of the ground and more than 1000 internet-connected TV screens scattered around, too.
  • The future of sport on TV isn't on TV, David Ramli and Max Mason, Sydney Morning Herald, (17 November 2015). Tuning into sports is a near-ritualistic experience. You rush for the big screen, turn it on to a TV channel and get hit with the pre-game chatter of commentators and pitches from major advertisers. But in the next few years a subtle shift will sneak into your living room. Rather than start with irrelevant noise, you'll hit a calm landing page on the TV or tablet computer tiled with apps for your favourite sporting codes.

Sport is in a good position to capitalise on these media disruption that are occurring in the early stages so as to ensure that sporting events can maximise their usage for its consumers both at the ground and in the living room.


Over the past few months Optus has been a ‘disruptive’ influence with regard to acquiring a number of sport rights in competition with the more traditional bidders and existing rights holders. The value of these deals are significant and it can be seen that legacy media companies now have significant competition from different media organisations who are looking to leverage the power of sports content. Having a solid focus on mobile and broadband streaming of the sport (likely through the company's partnership with Fetch TV) means a fairly drastic change in how sport may be consumed in Australia in the future.

Without a traditional broadcast platform of its own, that focus on mobile platforms takes on extra significance. There is a chance that Optus will on-sell the rights to a more traditional broadcaster, but in today's on demand entertainment environment, it seems obvious that the focus for Optus will be in digital delivery. Australian football may very well be the first code in Australia to feel the full weight of the disruption in technology and business models sweeping across the world.


  • A battle between enraged bulls’: the 2009 Australian Senate Inquiry into sports news and digital media, (PDF  PDF document - 712 KB). Monash University and University of Western Sydney (2009). This paper concentrates on the set of claims by sporting organisations relating to fair dealing and the Copyright Act. They demanded guidance and/or legislation clarifying how the fair dealing exception for the reporting of news in the Copyright Act should operate online. It highlights the centrality of sport in the operation of the media and culture industries, as well as in broader contemporary culture. Hutchins, B. & Rowe, D. 2009
  • A study on the potential impact of the Digital Single Market on the sports audio-visual ecosystem in Europe, analysysmason, (17 June 2016). The Digital Single Market (DSM) is the EC’s latest political initiative, whose objective is to create a single market for digital content and services. This report identifies five key hypothetical but plausible scenarios for implementation of the DSM political initiative that would lead to two distinct, broad outcomes: portability and cross-border access. 
  • Audiences For Sport On Free TV On The Rise, (PDF  PDF document - 161 KB), Free TV Australia (October 2014).Live and free sport on commercial free-to-air television is proving even more popular in 2014 with Free TV audiences increasing by more than 11.5 percent year-on-year. 
  • Australian Sports Commission Women In Sport Broadcasting Analysis Final Report April 2014, (PDF  PDF document - 592 KB), (Repucom). The objectives of this research were to:
    • Definitively establish the proportion of media exposure dedicated to women’s sport in Australia in both traditional and new media platforms
    • Analyse any emerging trends since the 2010 report Towards a Level Playing Field: sport and gender in Australian media and continue to build on opportunities for women’s sports broadcasting
    • Develop a deep understanding of the emerging trends and opportunities for women’s sports broadcasting in new media broadcast platforms
  • Broadcasting of sports events [Wikipedia].
  • Copyright and contract: report of the Copyright Law Review Committee, (2002). Not all the recommendations of this report were implemented in the 2006 Amendments to the Copyright Act. Lobbying has resulted in the formation of an Australian Law Reform Group committee to re-examine the recommendations. In March 2012 following the initial Optus TV ruling, lobbying by COMPPS (an advocacy group for professional sports) has resulted in the formation of an Australian Law Reform Group committee to re-examine the recommendations.
  • Cultural citizenship, media and sport in contemporary Australia, David Rowe, Wester Sydney University, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, (2016). Mediated sport has assumed an extraordinary position in contemporary global culture. It is enormously popular, especially when stimulated by both artful and ‘carpet bomb’ marketing and promotion.It is, correspondingly, in high commercial demand in the transition from scheduled, ‘appointment’ broadcast television to a more flexible, mobile system of on-demand viewing on multiple platforms.The ‘nowness’ of sport means that it is highly effective in assembling massive, real-time audiences in an era of increasing fragmentation both in terms of numbers and viewing rhythms. At the same time, sport routinely insinuates itself into the everyday lives of citizens in ways that are no more uniform than the people who encounter it. Even among enthusiastic participants in, and aficionados of, sport, there is considerable experiential diversity in engagement with it in mediated form. Socio-cultural variables such as age, gender, ethnicity and social class, as well as dispositions of sporting taste, are responsible for considerable differences in the practices associated with mediated sport. This article addresses current research on cultural citizenship and sport in Australia, drawing on qualitative data from Greater Western Sydney, Australia’s most demographically diverse region, in analysing the various ways in which citizens engage with sport as participants and spectators. It explores the research participants’ views concerning their rights to access ‘live’ mediated sport within a broad framework of cultural citizenship, analysing the tension between commercial and citizen relationships in the production of public culture. Finally, the article considers problems associated with such access, including with regard to the so-called ‘gamblification’ of sport.
  • Entrepreneurship in Sports Broadcasting, (PDF  PDF document - 292 KB), Rodoula Tsiotsou (2011). Sport broadcasting evolved into a multi-billion dollar business and a major source of revenue for sport organizations (leagues, federations, associations, and clubs) due to increasing viewership demand and value.
  • Free and fair: the future of commercial television in a converged media worldFree TV Australia (2009).
  • ‘Great markers of culture’: The Australian sport field(PDF  PDF document - 1.2 KB), David Rowe, Western Sydney University, Media International Australia, (March 2016). In Creative Nation, sport is distinguished by its almost complete absence, except as a competitor for sponsorship with ‘cultural organisations’, and in brief mentions as content for SBS Radio and Aboriginal community radio stations. Sport is not mentioned at all in the 2011 National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper, but in the ensuing policy, Creative Australia, is treated, with art and religion, as one of the ‘great markers of culture’ in which, distinctively, elite professionalism, amateurism and fandom/appreciation happily co-exist. This article reflects on developments in the Australian sport field over the last two decades, highlighting the management of elite-grass roots and public– private funding tensions, and relevant parallels in the arts field. It addresses the pivotal relationship between the sport and broadcast media fields, arguing that sport, as a Bourdieusian ‘field of struggles’, is an under-appreciated domain of national cultural policy in which different forms of capital collide and converge.
  • Global Media Sport: Flows, Forms and Futures, Rowe, D, Bloomsury Academic, (2011). How has globalization impacted on sports media? What are the economic ramifications? And what is the future of sports media? This book investigates the constituents, dimensions and implications of the flows of media sport from the Global West to the Global East and in the reverse direction. At an historical moment when the relative stability of the Western media sport order is under challenge, it analyses a range of key structures, practices and issues whose ramifications extend far beyond the fields of play and national contexts in which sport events take place.
  • Media ownership deregulation in the United States and Australia: in the public interest?, Dr Rhonda Jolly, Social Policy Section, Parliamentary Library, (2007). A deregulatory media ownership regime, which reflects similar thinking to that which provoked important changes in the American media environment in 1996, has recently been introduced into Australia. Comparable arguments have been advanced to support deregulation of Australian media ownership as were put forward in America in the 1990s.
  • Media Sport: Practice, Culture and Innovation, Edited by Brett Hutchins, James Meese, and Aneta Podkalicka, Media International Australia (May 2015). This article introduces the special issue on Media Sport: Practice, Culture and Innovation, and outlines the overall objectives and focus of the eight collected essays. The tripartite of ‘practice, culture and innovation’ encapsulates emerging themes in the study of media sport that connect with core (inter-)disciplinary concerns in and around communications and media studies: (1) media practice and what people do in relation to media; (2) the role of television, digital platforms, social networking, mobile media, apps and wearable media devices in the constitution of media cultures; and; (3) how both these issues relate to broadly articulated conceptions and processes of innovation.
  • OzTAM reports. OzTAM is the official source of television audience measurement (TAM) covering Australia’s five mainland metropolitan markets (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) and nationally for subscription television. OzTAM ratings are the accepted metric by which Australian television is evaluated. The reports include Consolidated data: Live + As Live + Time Shift Viewing (up to 7 days after the original broadcast).
  • Sports broadcasting contracts in Australia, [Wikipedia].
  • Sport and the Media: Managing the Nexus(PDF  PDF document - 3.2 KB), 2nd Edition, Matthew Nicholson, Anthony Kerr, Merryn Sherwood, Taylor and Francis, (2015). This book explains the commercial relationships that exist between key media and sport organisations and how to apply a range of tools and strategies to promote the achievements of sport organisations. This updated edition includes a wider range of international examples and cases, as well as four completely new chapters covering new and social media, managing the media at major sports events, the work of the sports journalist, and the role of the sport media manager. The book's online resources have also been updated, with new lecture slides and teaching notes providing a complete package for instructors. 
  • Sport Beyond Television: The Internet, Digital Media and the Rise of Networked Media Sport, Hutchins, B. and Rowe, D., Routledge, (2012). Television is no longer the only screen delivering footage and news to people about sport. Computers, the Internet, Web, mobile and other digital media are increasingly important technologies in the production and consumption of sports media. Sport Beyond Television analyzes the changes that have given rise to this situation, combining theoretical insights with original evidence collected through extensive research and interviews with people working in the media and sport industries. It locates sports media as a pivotal component in online content economies and cultures, and counteracts the scant scholarly attention to sports media when compared to music, film and publishing in convergent media cultures.
  • Sport, Culture and the Media(PDF  PDF document - 1.2 KB), David Rowe, Open University Press, (2004). This second edition of David Rowe’s Sport, Culture and the Media: The Unruly Trinity explores the extraordinarily dynamic linkages between media and sport, and their significance for contemporary society. Where other books in this area typically focus on a particular sport and its depiction in a single medium, Rowe’s book covers both production and interpretation across the full spectrum of what he calls the ‘media sports cultural complex’
  • Sport on the Move: The Unfolding Impact of Mobile Communications on the Media Sport Content Economy, Hutchins, Brett, Journal of Sport & Social Issues, Vol. 38 Issue 6 (December 2014). The increased popularity of mobile smartphones and tablet computers in developed economies is transforming how and where sports footage, highlights and information are accessed. These developments are contributing to new commercial arrangements in the media sport sector, as well as legal conflicts over sought-after content that is transferable and reproduced across broadcast (pay-for-view and free-to-air television), online (desktop and laptop computers), and mobile platforms (smartphone and tablets). In particular, mobile and wireless communications highlight that the media sport content economy is now “on the move” from technology, commercial, regulatory, and legal perspectives. This article outlines factors that are determining how this economy functions in relation to mobile media, with an emphasis on the complex and sometimes unpredictable relationship between content production, distribution, platforms, and access.
  • Sport, Public Broadcasting, and Cultural Citizenship, Jaye Scherer and David Rowe, (2014). This book examines the political debates over the access to live telecasts of sport in the digital broadcasting era. It outlines the broad theoretical debates, political positions and policy calculations over the provision of live, free-to-air telecasts of sport as a right of cultural citizenship. In so doing, the book provides a number of comparative case studies that explore these debates and issues in various global spaces.
  • The future of sports broadcasting just changed forever, Jake Williams, LinkedIn, (June 2015). Ordinarily, you have TV conglomerates bidding for the broadcast rights to the best (and worst) sports because sport is unable to be watched on delay (DVR proof for our American friends). Sport needs to be consumed live or it is not as dramatic. We all know how hard it is to avoid all social media and technology and watch a game 6 hours after it has finished not wanting to know the score. Sport is unlike any other programming as it has to be watched live and as a result the rights to the major sports broadcasting are multi-billion dollar deals ($10 Billion dollars for the latest English Premier League broadcast rights).
  • The future of sport on TV isn't on TV, David Ramli and Max Mason, Sydney Morning Herald, (November 2015). Tuning into sports is a near-ritualistic experience. You rush for the big screen, turn it on to a TV channel and get hit with the pre-game chatter of commentators and pitches from major advertisers. But in the next few years a subtle shift will sneak into your living room. Rather than start with irrelevant noise, you'll hit a calm landing page on the TV or tablet computer tiled with apps for your favourite sporting codes.
  • The (r)evoultion of Sport Broadcasting, (PDF  PDF document - 831 KB) Broadcast Australia, (2007). Sport on television has captured the imagination of the viewing public since its inception nearly 70 years ago. Arguably the purest form of ‘live’ television, modern sports broadcasts offer viewers a virtual front-row seat at the world’s premier sporting events. The first televised broadcast of a college baseball game between Columbia and Princeton Universities in 1939 laid the foundation for what now forms the backbone of modern sports broadcasting.
  • The World's 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams 2015Forbes, (July 2015). It is boom times for professional sports team owners as they capitalize on their greatest financial advantage: DVR-proof programming in a fractured TV environment. Sports teams are awash in cash today thanks to multibillion-dollar media deals around the globe.
  • Three trends worth considering from the upfront season, Ourand, John, Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, Vol. 16 Issue 6, (May 2013). The author presents three possible trends of advertisers in Australia for the upfront selling season including the high value of live sports rights, use of social media for digital presence, and the consideration of digital space advertising as a complementary mode to television advertising.
  • Towards a Level Playing Field: sport and gender in Australian media, (PDF PDF document - 782 KB), University of New South Wales Journalism and Media Research Centre and Media Monitors joint research for the Australian Sports Commission (January 2008–July 2009 Last updated January 2014).
  • TV Trends 2014 (PDF  PDF document - 561 KB),, (March 2015).



  • KeepSportFree - lobby group for keeping major sporting events on FTA TV

Related Topics

Is this information complete?

The Clearinghouse for Sport is a sector-wide knowledge sharing initiative, and as such your contributions are encouraged and appreciated. If you would like to suggest a resource, submit a publication, or provide feedback on this topic, please contact us.

Alternatively, if you would like to be kept up to date with research and information published about this topic, please request a research profile setup.