Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany has rejected claims that Fox Sports should be doing more to develop rugby in Australia, saying it was not a broadcaster’s role to oversee administration of the game.
Delany released a statement via Fox Sports yesterday:
The Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday published claims by consultant Colin Smith, of Global Media & Sports, that Foxtel had “its hands off the tiller” when it came to rugby, suggesting Fox Sports should accept more responsibility for problems facing the game.
Smith’s headline-grabbing assertion was met with a swift rebuttal by Delany.
“Fox Sports has broadcast every game of Super Rugby live from the inception of the competition, bringing rugby to millions of fans across the country,” Delany said.
“We have invested millions of dollars into the game and without our continued support, the competition would not exist as it does today and the rugby landscape in Australia would be vastly different.
“The issues that rugby faces are issues for those who run the game, and that is not us. Fox Sports is a broadcaster. We do not run sports. To suggest we should grab anyone else’s tiller is inappropriate. We are here to support our partners and will, of course, respond if asked for advice.”
In addition to the cutting-edge live coverage Fox Sports provides every week, Delany pointed to the broadcaster’s panel shows, where expert commentators dissect the best match highlights and issues facing the game for all rugby fans.
“We provide the platform and the megaphone for the game. The level of expertise of our commentary and our magazine shows, combined with our innovations in how the game is broadcast, reinforces our commitment to sport.
“The game has to perform in the sporting field to keep fans engaged with the sport they love.”
Top photo: Patrick Delany