Matildas impact: FIFA Women’s World Cup added to anti-siphoning list

TV Ratings Matildas

The amended list sees the Men’s and Women’s World Cups listed equally

On Thursday, the Albanese Government announced that it had amended the anti-siphoning list to include future matches of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. These additions to the list make it more likely that Australians will be able to watch the Matildas for free in 2027 and in future FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments.

The anti-siphoning scheme stops subscription television broadcasters from buying the rights to air an event until a free-to-air TV broadcaster has had an opportunity to acquire the rights.

See Also: Explained: The nuts and bolts of Australia’s anti-siphoning laws

The amended list sees the FIFA World Cup – the men’s tournament – and the FIFA Women’s World Cup listed equally. For both genders, the list now includes every match of the tournament involving the senior Australian representative team (The Socceroos and Matildas); the tournament final; and qualifying matches involving the senior Australian representative team that is played in Australia.

The Matilda’s 3-1 loss to England in the recent Women’s World Cup had a national average audience on Seven and 7plus of 7.13 million, making it the most-watched TV program since the OzTAM audience measurement system started in 2001. (OzTAM does not capture out-of-home viewing at pubs, clubs, stadia, etc.)

James Warburton, managing director and CEO, Seven West Media said: “Seven applauds the Government’s announcement to include key matches from the FIFA Women’s World Cup on the anti-siphoning list. Through Seven’s free broadcast and digital streaming on 7plus, the Matildas’ incredible World Cup journey became one of the biggest viewing events in Australian history – reaching over 14.8 million people on Seven and 3.82 million on 7plus.

“As the Government seeks to modernise the anti-siphoning list, it is critical that BVOD rights are included alongside the broadcast rights to ensure that all Australians can watch their favourite sports on TV or online without a paywall barrier.”

Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland MP said:  “The Albanese Government recognises the need for events of national importance and cultural significance to be made available live and free wherever possible. Much has changed in terms of technology, platforms and viewing habits in the decades since the scheme commenced – and we’re responding to that.

“The Matildas’ incredible performance in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup brought us together as a nation and will be talked about for years to come – we all shared in the excitement as the team progressed from stage to stage.

“They’ve inspired a whole new generation of Australian kids to take up soccer, boosting grassroots sports participation, while setting a number of viewership records as Australians tuned in and cheered our team on.

“Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy live and free coverage of these events, no matter where they live or what they earn. This amendment to the list will help to support this outcome.”

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