by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Golf Australia Express : Issue 42
COVER STORY THE factored heavily in the decision to take the British Open off the anti-siphoning list in 2010. Of course we can't blame the government for the British Open fiasco. That was purely Channel Nine abusing the broadcast advantage given to it. And the embarrassment that caused the government led to a positive change in the laws. "The government has implemented a 'use it or lose it' policy for events on the anti-siphoning list so what happened with the British Open cannot happen again," Sen Conroy's spokesman said. When a company is given such an advantage over another (as the free-to-air broadcasters were) only to misuse that privilege, one can only wonder whether the government backed the right horse in its attempt to protect sport coverage. "It is unfair to all golf fans if free-to-air broadcasters are allowed to hoard tournaments without giving them significant or live air time, as this could prevent them being shown at all on any television platform, including [pay] TV." That's what we've been saying. In an ironic twist, having golf's majors off the anti-siphoning list actually gives fans more hope of seeing them live and in full---albeit on a cable network. Speaking of cable, it's hard to fault Fox Sports for its coverage of world golf. While the free-to-air networks tend to pay lip service to the occasional marquee golf event (remember Eddie Maguire and former cricketer Ian Healy commentating the Australian Masters?), Fox Sports broadcasts the PGA, European and LPGA tours live most weeks. Guess the old saying 'you get what you pay for' is becoming truer by the day. But according to Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt, a lack of free-to-air coverage of golf tournaments can really hurt the expansion of the game in this country. "Free-to-air TV coverage is a very important pillar for promoting our game to both golf and sports fans alike and the single biggest tool for showcasing the game to a significant audience," Mr Pitt said. "If there are fewer opportunities to see the game played on free-to-air networks, that can make it more challenging to highlight the sport to new people on [a] mass scale and boost participation through this medium." He said while anti-siphoning laws offered some protection "the greater focus has to be ensuring that golf's TV product is of the highest standard, rates well and connects with audiences". Golf Australia has discussed British Open television coverage with Sen Conroy and the R&A, which runs the major event. "The benefit we have is that Sen Conroy is a good golfer and understands the game well and has been helpful in the past," Mr Pitt said. "From our experience he has worked well with sports on broadcast issues." Perhaps Sen Conroy could run for the board at Channel Nine? THE CONCLUSION ANTI-SIPHONING LAWS are a tricky beast--- mainly because to be effective they rely on free-to- air broadcasters acting in the best interest of sports fans. Yet history has shown us they do not, despite the government giving free-to-air networks a leg-up in securing big-name event broadcast rights. The only way us golf fans can ensure we see the best events live and in full---at least in the foreseeable future---is to dig deeply into our collective pockets and fork over our hard-earned. With that said it seems clear the current anti-siphoning laws are as toothless a tiger as Eldrick Woods without chompers. Wait a minute, now that's something I'd pay to see. OTG The sports that are only viewed on Pay TV will surely damage their brand and will pay in the long run with smaller participation. I think in Australia the sports that have been damaged are golf and cricket, and I see AFL following the same boat. They are better off putting it on free-to-air instead of trying to get the big pay TV dollars. I think the players have to make the first step by lowering the prizemoney. If they don't then it will hurt the future generations. ---Ricky Stewart What a joke free-to-air TV is! One HD is a disgrace and Channel Nine's not worth watching. TV channels should be called re-run TV not free- to-air. ---Stacy Fiegert Robbed. If the majors aren't shown on free-to-air how will you get new people watching and the old faithful still interested? It is a disservice to golfers to not show the entire tournament. ---Sue Leitinger I'm glad free-to-air doesn't have the rights to events like the US Open. The opening two days of coverage allowed me to watch 10 hours of golf with the full field on show. The weekend rounds were six hours and I couldn't see a free-to-air station interrupting their morning programs to stay with golf. Hooray for cable ---Peter Tolich FAIR TO SAY OUR READERS WERE NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE LACK OF US OPEN COVERAGE ON FREE-TO-AIR TV? SHARE THIS ARTICLE "The greater focus has to be ensuring that golf's TV product is of the highest standard, rates well and connects with audiences."