Federal Government’s changes to anti-siphoning laws could see millions of rugby league fans locked out of biggest games of the year




Potential changes to Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s federal anti-siphoning laws could see millions of rugby league fans that only use digital streaming apps like 9now and Kayo Sports locked out of watching live blockbuster NRL events like the grand final, Test matches and State of Origin.

As reported by the ABC’s Peter Lusted on Wednesday, all big matches would still be available for those watching via aerial but anyone using digital televisions and the apps may lose their chance to watch with the risk of games going behind a paywall.

Australian sports fans, including many rugby league supporters, have moved away from watching the game in the traditional way which has been through aerial.

Millions now access their content digitally with everything at the touch of their fingertips.

The reforms are currently in the Senate and continues on Wednesday.

“Senator Sarah Hanson-Young points out the worrying loophole in the anti-siphoning Bill before the Senate this week,” the Free TV Australia account posted on X on Wednesday.

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“She rightly points out that the changes could see events like the NRL and AFL grand finals behind a paywall for those who do not watch TV via their aerial.”

From the national audience of 3.436 million for Game I of State of Origin, 760,000 watched live on 9now.

“Nine’s 760,000 BVOD figure is its highest ever for Origin, and probably its best ever for any live program,” the much-respected @footyindustryAU account posted on social media at the time.

Game II of the 2024 Origin series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground saw 739,000 viewers watch digitally of a total of 3.263 million.

Over 10 percent of viewers of Women’s State of Origin watched the three-game series on 9now.

Senator Hanson-Young is on record and pushing for an amendment which would see footy fans able to watch NRL’s biggest games for free whether they watch via aerial or via an app.

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Channel Nine and 9now currently have the rights for live finals matches, the grand final and Men’s and Women’s State of Origin matches.

It could also hurt fans wanting to watch Australia on 9now or Kayo in Test matches or overseas tours and Tests beamed back during the middle of the night.


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