Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Questions without Notice
Australian Football League Television Broadcasts
which—as Senator Conroy quite rightly interjects—is due to be announced tomorrow, I do understand that under the terms of the five-year agreement a maximum of four matches per round may be on-sold by the Seven and Ten networks to subscription TV broadcasters and that if no agreement is reached with subscription television the networks must ensure the broadcast of all eight games per round, which may of course involve other free-to-air broadcasters. I also understand that Network Ten will broadcast the 2007 AFL grand final after winning a coin toss for the right to screen the match. Network Seven will broadcast the following grand final. Any negotiations between Seven and Ten and other broadcasters is of course a matter for the parties involved and subject to the terms of the contract agreed with the AFL. Certainly the government would not be seeking to interfere with negotiations.
As with all events on the list, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will monitor the use of the rights acquired by the broadcasters and report back to the government. These reports will guide future action in relation to the list. I am aware of reports suggesting that the proposed deal will lead to a reduction in the number of games broadcast free to air in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia—and I should say that the AFL is one of the cornerstone sports of the anti-siphoning list. Australians do love their sport and their various footy codes, and that is why the government has directed that the regulator monitor the way sports on the list are shown by broadcasters. Under the rules, broadcasters do need to demonstrate that sports on the list are being shown live to fans. It is precisely the reason for the list and we will watch closely how the games are used throughout the year so that it can inform the way in which the government deals with this list.