Football, rugby hit as Foxtel sports rights budget cuts bite
Football and rugby’s second-tier domestic competitions, the FFA Cup and the National Rugby Championship, are in the firing line amid the first wave of budget cuts at embattled subscription television provider Foxtel, report Georgina Robinson and Vince Rugari in The SMH.
The Herald reports Rugby Australia is in negotiations to shoulder a portion of the NRC’s production costs while rights for the FFA Cup could be on-sold to another network as Fox Sports looks to reduce costs under the weight of a $417 million financial loss in 2018.
Fox Sports’ waning appetite for the round-ball code is clear – it tried to wriggle out of a $5 million annual increase in its contract with FFA as part of the A-League’s expansion, and is considering selling off two of the five weekly games to a free-to-air partner.
Along with the Seven and Ten networks, it is believed SBS has been involved in preliminary talks over the A-League’s free-to-air rights and may yet emerge as the cup’s saviour.