Pay TV company Foxtel will make some women’s AFL and cricket matches free for non-subscribers of streaming service Kayo Sports in an effort to meet its obligations under $40 million of government funding.
Sports such as the AFL Women’s League, Women’s Big Bash League, croquet and dragon boating will be available in front of Kayo Sports’ paywall under new plans implemented because of government grants received by Foxtel dedicated to women’s, niche and under-represented sports.
“Kayo Freebies has allowed us to think about things differently, from sports acquisitions such as netball to how we continue to build reach for women’s and under-represented sports,” Foxtel’s chief content and commercial officer Amanda Laing said.
“By adding games to Freebies from competitions covered by the grant, we now have the best of both worlds for these sports. We are increasing their stature having them alongside established elite competitions.”
The free coverage is in addition to the broadcast of two Super Netball games per week, finals matches and all Diamonds’ matches on Kayo’s “Freebies” product. Foxtel will also relaunch FOXW, a specialised channel for women’s sport for the month of April.
Foxtel has received $40 million in government funding to broadcast under-represented sports on television over the past few years.
The funding has been criticised because Fox Sports was previously available by subscription only, meaning taxpayers effectively had to pay twice to watch the sports.
The first $30 million five-year grant was awarded in 2017, but in 2020 the government announced a $10 million top-up over two years.