It's a hard rain gonna fall.......

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May 15, 2019, 03:45

'Dead in the water': Foxtel austerity drive signals end of sports rights boom 

All of Australia’s sporting codes - including the AFL and NRL - could be impacted as pay TV provider Foxtel reins in spending on "non-marquee" sports, in a sign the era of record rights deals may be ending. 

Foxtel spends $800 million on sports rights each year and media analysts say moves to pull back spending by the pay TV giant could affect the entire sporting landscape.

“There is no question now that Foxtel is putting away its cheque book and Foxtel has been the driver of this market,” said media analyst Steve Allen.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, which owns 65 per cent of Foxtel,  flagged cuts to "non-marquee sports" in an update to the ASX on Monday after revealing the pay TV company lost $417 million in 2018.

Rugby Australia is expected to be the first sporting body to face the austerity drive as it begins negotiations over a new broadcast rights deal, but Football Federation Australia's (FFA) A League is expected to be hardest hit.

“If I was Rugby (Australia) and the FFA I’d be concerned as they would be looking at savings there, but this could profoundly change the whole market,” said Global Media and Sports boss Colin Smith, who has previously worked with the NRL on its broadcast deals.

The A-League's current deal is worth around $40 million a year with $35 million of this coming from Foxtel, according to industry analysts.

Mr Allen said the A-League is "dead in the water" without Foxtel's support, but the impact is expected to be felt all the way from V8 Supercars to the top tier sports.

Foxtel's blockbuster deals with NRL and AFL, worth a combined $3.5 billion, do not expire until 2022.

The pay TV subscriber numbers, revenue and earnings are going backwards in its core pay TV business despite a massive spend on sports broadcast rights in recent years.

The focus will now have to be on “what are people really interested in, what are they prepared to pay for,” said Mr Allen.

“Now they have to ruthlessly go through their expense base and look at whether particular sports they’ve bid for have netted anything in terms of subscribers.”

Cricket Australia's $1.2 billion rights deal with Foxtel and Seven West Media last year is now being viewed as the high water mark for sports rights in Australia.

Free to air television broadcasters are not expected to be able to pick up the slack if Foxtel does start cutting back, and sporting codes rely on broadcast deals to provide up to 65 per cent of their revenue. The broadcast deals also drive sponsorship dollars.

Foxtel and News Corp did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

In the market update, News Corp also flagged further price rises for Foxtel.  The media giant was forced to diclose the financial details to shareholders after they were provided to potential lenders as it seeks refinancing for Foxtel debt totalling $US1.68 billion.

It comes after News Corp provided Foxtel with a $300 million lifeline to cover debts maturing in April. Telstra, which owns the reamining 35 per cent of Foxtel, did not contibute any new funding.

May 15, 2019, 07:17

I hope TV companies keep on with this trend. 

That way sport can go live stream and we as sports fans don't have to pay large subs that end carry entire networks.

Isn't it weird how if you want the good sport channels you can never get them on their own? They're always included in the highest price bouquet and that comes with tons of crappy regular channels.

May 15, 2019, 08:34

Back in the day, we South Africans used to look towards Australia as a progressive land where everything they touched turned to gold.

For a small nation they would excel at sport, able to compete with the best the world had to offer.

How things have changed.

They're sounding more and more like what we're seeing here.

A divided society, struggling to keep it's head above water.

May 15, 2019, 09:13

No not really. Firstly you must remember that we don't have a numero uno sport, I don't know whether it's by design but what I do know is that sport is on a level playing field. That means that the public votes with bums on seats. Rugby Union has a very small dedicated following in the mix and so also soccer. As soon as rugby falters the support rapidly dries up, when they win it's a different story. Very importantly is the noticeable difference in competition for support from League and AFL. Both have a huge following in the scheme of things. League is huge in the state of NSW and QLD and AFL is huge in Melbourne and South Australia and not too shabby in Western Australia and in NSW. I won't bother to mention soccer.

There is no comparison between South Africa and Australia in that you guys only play two football codes whereas we play four....and we also have less than half your population. Amazingly Australia still dominates the Commonwealth Games as it has for decades beating heavyweights like England and Canada. I think the fact that all sports are on an equal footing is the reason for success at the CHOGM. Union, as you will notice, is not attracting fans.

Swimming, netball and hockey are other big sports not to mention cricket and Tennis.

May 15, 2019, 09:24

Follow midget car racing.  A real buzz for rev heads and there’s a lot of them in OZ

May 15, 2019, 09:36

When they’re not winning, aussies lose the plot.  It’s their mindset, they have to win at all costs, second is nothing.  Evident at the last olympics when their swimming team got the silver instead of gold.  Accepting their medals looked like they were at a funeral and there was China jumping for joy and they got bronze.  Doesn’t surprise me Foxtel want to pull the plug on rugby first.  If they want to get real they need to get rid of Castle and Chieka to have any hope of surviving.

May 15, 2019, 10:43

A true competitor competes to win, winning is all important. I like that mindset. 

May 15, 2019, 11:03

Except when you lose.....

May 15, 2019, 11:34

“Posted by: Plum (3719 posts) May 15, 2019, 07:17

I hope TV companies keep on with this trend.

That way sport can go live stream and we as sports fans don't have to pay large subs that end carry entire networks.”

But..... those live streams are all actually steaming of events that are being broadcasted by who? TV companies. Sports need the TV companies.

May 15, 2019, 12:39

Interesting. I'm going to find out how ours work. 

This is the way we are set up.....there's 5 Free to Air TV stations running off a separate aerial.

Then there's Foxtel running off a dish. However, with my new IQ4 Foxtel setup box I can pick up free to air off the Dish.

We don't pay for Free To Air but we pay a monthly fee for Foxtel.

May 15, 2019, 13:34

Denny...what happened to Optus? I heard they were going to setup cable or was that NBN? Foxtel cost heaps I think when I was there we were paying $260 a month for platinum but that was bundled with cable broadband and the landline. I thought it was a ripoff as nearly everything especially the movies were repeats. As for the sports channels I seriously wondered who watched bowls or darts. The 3 sports they devote the most viewing would be NRL, cricket and rugby but there are a lot of obscure sports, racing all the English and European leagues. Why wouldn’t those all go first before rugby? And what about the beIN channels who are independently owned? Mind you SkySport has just as many problems. Test rugby can only be watched a couple of hours later on free-to-air.

May 15, 2019, 13:49

Optus uses overhead cable, Foxtel uses satellite.....I'm with Foxtel. 

Cost p/m = $63 locked for 1 year.

Under that package I get most channels excepting for some exclusions from what they call "Entertainment" like the History channel which I liked but several others which I didn't watch anyway. I get all the sports channels and it's only "Main Event" that's an extra charge.

I'm waiting for Foxtel to connect me to the NBN.....they're not too far off. I'm getting the modem and installation for free. The landline which we seldom use is going to be connected to the modem.

I have access to plenty of movie channels and I can select movies and store them in "Library"....most movies are free, some are at a small charge. "On Demand" movies are pay per view.

I'm happy.

May 15, 2019, 14:17

That’s a good deal :)

May 15, 2019, 14:22

It's called the "Art of The Deal"..................bwhahahahaha

May 15, 2019, 14:58

Rugby Pass had a great offer earlier this year £40 a year or something like that for every game being broadcast around the world. Just need an Asian VPN. 

May 16, 2019, 02:06

Is Rugby Pass a service provider? And are you're saying that Super Rugby is at an additional cost?

May 16, 2019, 11:50

" who watched bowls or darts. "

Hei! What's wrong with darts? ...And we hardly see any snooker or racing pigeons any more!:D

May 16, 2019, 11:57

Aaahhh racing favorite childhood hobby....won a few races...loved it.

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