Australian government targets 2014 for new sports channel

The Australian Sports Commission has said a government-funded digital television sports channel dedicated to the country’s lower-profile sports could be launched as soon as 2014, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The newspaper said the Sports Commission has received approaches from video-sharing website YouTube and other companies since chairman John Wylie raised the prospect of the establishment of such a platform.

Wylie said the Commission was keen to launch the digital service should a partner be found and if it was demonstrated to prove financially beneficial to the sports concerned. He added he hoped the channel could be ready to launch as early as the second half of next year.

“This is about investigating whether there are long-term commercially viable opportunities for sports that do not have regular broadcasting rights arrangements,” Wylie said. “I think there is a real opportunity for the sports to work together to aggregate their rights across the spectrum. If they do that they can be reach a bigger audience, which can be attractive to sponsors and therefore bring in more revenue.”

The likes of hockey, netball, rowing and athletics could all receive coverage via the new channel.