The Australian Swimming Championships begin this Friday with Australia’s best swimmers looking to secure a spot on the Australian team for the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia later this year.
For those keen to see who qualifies for a spot on the Australian team, Swimming Australia has confirmed that LIVE coverage (of all finals) will only be available online via www.tenplay.com.au (from 6:30pm Eastern Time nightly), with a replay available on ONE from 9:30pm nightly. The Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships run from April 3 to 10 at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
Ten Sport’s coverage will be fronted by Mel McLaughlin and Lachy Reid, along with expert commentator Nicole Livingstone.
Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said of the broadcast details that:
“We are excited for Network Ten to bring a new element of digital broadcast to the Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships…Network Ten have been a great supporter of Australian swimming and to have both a televised and live-stream option for the finals of this important selection event is a great step forward into the digital space for the sport.”
While Network Ten has been a greater supporter of Swimming Australia (since it took over the rights for Nine), it has on a number of occasions failed to show swimming events live or has not even acquired rights to certain global swimming events (think 2013 FINA World Championships where there was no Aussie broadcaster – read more about that here). So it is good to see that, while it is not providing viewers with LIVE free-to-air television coverage, there will be LIVE coverage across multiple internet-connected devices via tenplay. Further for those wanting to watch on free-to-air TV viewers can still catch full coverage (just on delay) on ONE that same evening.
Despite this, it is surprising that Ten is not providing LIVE coverage of one of Australia’s favourite Olympic sports on free-to-air television. While it has been a long time since the peak in popularity of Australian swimming (think 2001 FINA World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan), we have seen the other free-to-air networks (Seven, Nine and SBS) program a lot of sport on multi-channels recently, with most of that coverage live.
Ten has made a lot of noise about the importance of broadcasting sports (think Big Bash League and V8 Supercars) but when it comes to broadcasting a sport that needs as much coverage as possible to regrow its popularity, Ten has failed to seize the opportunity to broadcast live swimming across all its platforms.
It is great to have LIVE tenplay coverage but Network Ten has broadcast the Australian Swimming Championships LIVE before on terrestrial television, so why has it elected not to on this occasion? Especially at a time when Swimming Australia has secured a new naming rights sponsor (Hancock Prospecting) and has big name swimmers such as James Magnussen, Cameron McEvoy, Cate and Bronte Campbell, and Grant Hackett featuring at the trials. There are also spots up for grabs on the Australian team for the 2015 FINA World Championship.
On that note, at this stage it is unclear whether the 2015 FINA World Championships from Kazan (24 July to 9 August 2015) will have Australian TV coverage. Australia was not specifically mentioned in a recent release by the organising committee as a market where broadcast rights have already been sold.
The Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championship are LIVE on tenplay from this Friday at 6:30pm AEDT.