Last year it was heralded as “monumental”, that is the broadcast deal with former 24/7 FTA Sports channel, ONE HD, which saw it broadcast the Gold Coast’s Quicksilver Pro surfing event on free-to-air TV for the first time ever.
How things change in twelve months.
This year’s event will not be broadcast live on free-to-air. The lack of a live FTA broadcast coverage this year is most likely due to ONE HD‘s rebranding to ONE. The digital-only station is now firmly positioned as a male-skewing general entertainment channel with less of a focus on sport. Though it is good to see that ONE are still broadcasting the Accenture World Match Play tournament as part of the World Golf Championship. The tournament started today.
At the announcement last year of the historic broadcast deal with ONE HD, Surfing Australia CEO Andrew Stark said the deal was “monumental”, according to a report in the Australian. He further told the Australian,
“As far as sport in Australia is concerned, you absolutely need free-to-air TV…You see the success of netball since they’ve been on free-to-air, and the massive success of V8 Supercars…Our vision is to become mainstream, and this deal is part of that.”
That dream at least for the time being appears to be over with no LIVE coverage on FTA TV this year.
However fear not surfing fans, if you cannot get to Snapper Rocks to see the ASP Event, the new unrivalled home of surfing will have coverage for you, of course that is Premier Media Group’s FUEL TV.
Premier Media Group is owned 50:50 by News Limited and Consolidated Media Holdings and produces successful pay-TV channels such as the suite of FOX SPORTS and the recently launched FOX FOOTY channel.
In what can also be described as a “monumental” or “historic” deal for coverage of surfing in Australia, FUEL TV has announced that it has struck a deal with the ASP to bring LIVE coverage of all ELEVEN events on the World Tour into the homes of AUSTAR and FOXTEL subscribers. According to FUEL TV, the action sports broadcaster first aired live surfing at the Rip Curl Search Portugal in 2009 and since then has delivered live coverage of 19 ASP World Tour events reaching more than 1.1 million viewers cumulatively.
“Fuel TV is thrilled to be able to offer every ASP Word Tour event in 2012 live to our devoted surfing fans. This is a massive deal for the channel and will be instrumental in raising the profile of surfing in Australia.
“When we first put live surfing to air in 2009, there was an obvious thirst for the sport and our viewers weren’t going to be happy until they received the entire tour live. To now offer every event live, only three years down the track, demonstrates our commitment to surfing and to our subscribers,” Mr Howarth said.
ASP Executive Chairman, Richard Grellman said,
“This is a landmark year for the ASP and one we have been working towards for a long time. To be able to provide surfing fans, through Fuel TV, every event of the tour live will dramatically increase the exposure of this amazing sport.”
Whilst the lack of FTA coverage will be disappointing for surfing fans and illustrates the direction that ONE has now taken after its rebranding by off-loading a number of its sporting rights, including the NBA, FUEL TV’s coverage will be comprehensive.
For the Quicksilver Pro starting this Saturday (February 25) FUEL TV will have coverage each day from 8:30am AEDT with The Morning Show.
For more on FUEL TV’s season-long LIVE coverage click here.