Now, for the first time in nearly half a century, some of this is under threat. A couple of TV networks, with the agreement of Cricket Australia, are going to put sizeable parts of the One-Day International and T20 competitions behind a pay wall. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of cricket-loving Australians will now have to pay to enjoy a major slice of Australian sporting culture. For many poor Australians, their cricket will be denied them unless they can cough up subscriptions for pay TV. Many will not be able to afford this.
We all thought the anti-siphoning laws would protect major cricket matches from being the exclusive preserve of subscription TV networks. We were mistaken. It now turns out these laws are of little real value. They rely much on Ministerial discretion to be effective. The guarantees of the anti-siphoning laws turn out to be no guarantees at all.
The Federal Minister for the Arts and Communications can stop this. His powers under federal legislation allow him to protect major cricket matches from being turned over to pay-TV networks. Cricket fans call upon the Federal Minister to exercise these powers. Cricket fans call on him to use the anti-siphoning laws so that ordinary Australians who don’t have much money can continue to enjoy the summer excitement of One-Day International and T20 cricket matches.
Keep our cricketing culture free of Big Money. Keep the One-Day International and T20 matches available for all Australians, not just those with money.