Anti-siphoning laws in Australia

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Anti-siphoning laws in Australia regulate the media companies' access to significant sporting events. In 1992, when the country experienced growth in paid-subscription media, the Parliament of Australia enacted the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 that gave free-to-air broadcasters essentially first refusal to certain sporting event broadcasting rights. The anti-siphoning list is a list of events, the televising of which should, in the opinion of the relevant Minister, be available free to the general public.[1] To effect this 'freedom', the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 includes a licence condition on pay TV providers that prohibits them from acquiring anti-siphoning events unless a national broadcaster or a network of commercial television broadcasters have the right to televise the events.[2] This prohibition drops away a certain period before the event starts. The current anti-siphoning rules also prohibit national television broadcasters and commercial television broadcasters from premiering listed events on digital multi-channels. Listed events may be shown on digital multi-channels if they have already been broadcast, or are simultaneously broadcast on the broadcaster's main channel.

The anti-siphoning list came into effect in 2006. The relevant Minister has the power to add, amend or remove events from the list.[3] Currently, only sporting events are listed, even though the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 does not limit the types of events that can be listed. There are currently ten sport types (e.g. tennis, soccer, rugby league) on the anti-siphoning list plus the Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Events on the anti-siphoning list are delisted 12 weeks before they start to ensure pay TV broadcasters have reasonable access to listed events, if free-to-air broadcasters decide not to purchase the broadcast rights for a particular event. Any rights to listed sporting events that are not acquired by free-to-air broadcasters are available to pay TV. Before the end of 2009, the Federal Government conducted a review of the anti-siphoning scheme, with the Minister proposing changes to the scheme.[4] These changes can not come into effect until amending legislation is passed through the Australian Parliament.

In 2018, after cricket broadcasting deals were announced with Cricket Australia, Seven Network and Fox Cricket, Men’s ODIs and T20s will be live and exclusively broadcast on Foxtel.

Listed events[edit]

The most accurate and up to date anti-siphoning list is available on the comlaw website.[5] Generally, the following events are anti-siphoning events:


Sporting events are added and removed from the list from time to time. For example, in 2017, the English FA Cup final, finals of the Wimbledon Championships and the US Open, international netball matches, and a number of golf events were removed from the list.

See also[edit]

Sports broadcasting contracts in Australia


  1. ^ Section 115 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.
  2. ^ Paragraph 10(1)(e) of Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992
  3. ^ These decisions must be notified in the Gazette and laid before each House of Parliament. The decision will come into effect if no motion of disallowance has been moved within 15 sitting days in either House.
  4. ^ "Reforms to the Anti-siphoning Scheme Announced". Archived from the original on 14 May 2013.
  5. ^ a b