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Domestic sports coverage suffers another setback.



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Senator Kate Lundy Senator for the Australian Capital Territory Shadow Minister for Information Technology and Sport

Domestic sports coverage suffers another setback

The reduction of televised Australian domestic sport coverage brought about by the demise of Channel 7’s pay-TV sports channel C7 is yet another blow to sporting fans.

C7 had broadcast domestic cricket, basketball, soccer, hockey, cycling, the Victorian football League and the Queensland Rugby League. The future coverage of these sports is now in doubt.

While Foxtel and the free-to-air networks continue to provide a high standard of coverage of the major domestic sporting competitions, the so-called ‘second-tier’ sports are struggling in an increasing competitive and contracting market.

It’s about time the Howard Government did something to address this problem and gave sporting fans the respect and priorities they deserve.

Australian sport has been hit by one crisis after another, yet the Government has repeatedly failed to act on behalf of sporting organisations, competitions, players and fans to ensure the long-term viability of our domestic sporting competitions.

First, the collapse of Ansett Airlines drastically reduced the level of sponsorship for Australian sport and left many teams and competitions without sponsorship and access to ‘in kind’ sponsorship, such as cheaper air travel.

Next, the massive increases in public liability insurance resulted in the cancellation of many sporting and recreational events and put in jeopardy the future of many other events.

Then came the debacle over AFL coverage, which highlighted Senator Alston’s inability to ensure that sports coverage is adequate and that broadcasters don’t hoard rights.

Now, many other domestic sports may lose their pay-television coverage, thanks to the loss of C7.

Sports Minister Rod Kemp needs to get off the bench and start resolving the problems affecting domestic sport.

8 May 2002. Media contact: Simon Tatz on 6277 3334 or 0418 488 295