Australian TV broadcast arrangement under threat

Matt Keenan of SBS chats with rising sprinter Michael Matthews before the 163km race.

Matt Keenan of SBS chats with rising sprinter Michael Matthews before the 163km race. (Image credit: Shane Goss/

The broadcast arrangement between Australian government funded station, SBS, and the national cycling body, Cycling Australia, is reportedly under threat due to unpaid contractual fees.

According to a report released by Fairfax Media today, Cycling Australia owes SBS 150,000 Australian Dollars -€103,000-, and whilst the money is in dispute, the 2014-2015 contract remains in limbo.

"We don't have an agreement for next year," Ken Shipp, SBS head of sport, confirmed to Fairfax Media.

Cycling Australia acting president Robert Bates remained optimistic for future negotiations stating to Fairfax Media that CA would fulfill "all outstanding obligations."

SBS first covered the Tour de France in 1991 for Australian audiences and have continued to expand their cycling coverage with highlights of the Subaru National Road Series and live coverage of the Australian Open Road Championships coming as more recent additions. SBS have secured coverage of the Tour de France until 2021 but it is the continued coverage of domestic events that remains in dispute. The coverage of local events has been crucial in securing increased sponsorship for local teams and events and a loss of such coverage would be devastating for all parties involved.

"Cycling Australia has enjoyed a very long and fruitful relationship with SBS. In the past two years we have embarked on a program to develop our broadcast assets in partnership with Subaru and various government entities," the statement continued. "The result has been a live telecast of the Subaru track and road national championships, UCI track world championships and post produced production of BMX, road, track and mountain bike content."

Although Bates stressed that "contractual arrangements between CA and all of our partners remain confidential," he also clarified CA’s position adding that:

"We expect CA's long-standing partnership with SBS to continue to flourish into 2014 and beyond."

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