The Seven Network launches “We are Aussies, of course I want free sport” campaign

Kate Phillips
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Seven’s top sports commentators Bruce McAvaney and Mel McLaughlin.
Seven’s top sports commentators Bruce McAvaney and Mel McLaughlin. Credit: Jay Patel/TheWest

The Seven Network has launched a new campaign with its top sports commentators to increase pressure on the Federal Government to amend its proposed changes to the anti-siphoning regime to protect Australians’ access to free sports content.

The “We are Aussies, of course I want free sport” campaign launched on Monday and is running across all major social media platforms. It highlights the Bill before parliament only protects Australians’ access to free sport via broadcast TV but not if they watch TV through the internet via an app like 7plus.

Seven Upfront 2024. James Warburton
Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer James Warburton. Credit: Scott Ehler/Supplied

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Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton said Seven supported most parts of the Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-Siphoning) Bill 2023, but there was a major omission from the Bill.

“It only guarantees free sport content for Australians that have an aerial. It does not guarantee people will get free sport if they choose to stream it over the internet or don’t have an aerial. No aerial means no guarantee that Australians will have access to free sport in the future,” he said.

“As the Bill is drafted now, there is nothing stopping Amazon, Kayo, Prime and Netflix from buying all the digital rights to Australians’ favourite sports and making them pay if they want to stream sport over the internet.”

“The Albanese Government needs to amend the Bill to include the free digital stream alongside the free broadcast stream so that all Australians can access free sport, regardless of whether they have a TV aerial or not.”

Seven’s stars including Bruce McAvaney, Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer, Matthew Richardson, Abbey Holmes, Mel McLaughlin, Matt Evans, Jason Richardson, Juliet Godwin, Emma Freedman and Mark Beretta have all gotten behind the campaign.

“Australians shouldn’t be denied access to free sport just because they don’t have an aerial. If you want to stream sport over the internet, the anti-siphoning scheme should ensure internet delivered sport is also free,” McAvaney said.

Seven’s campaign supports the broader industry campaign from industry group Free TV Australia that is seeking some important changes to the prominence and anti-siphoning Bill to stop free TV content from disappearing behind paywalls.

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