The Roar
The Roar


Swimming's TV deal hurting the sport

Roar Guru
4th April, 2011
2771 Reads

In case you might have not known, a huge event that will determine our national squad for a world championship has begun.

Some of the best athletes in the world in this sport will take to a Sydney Sports Centre and most Australians wouldn’t have a clue.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about (you can be forgiven), the Australian Swimming Championships have begun. But thanks to the incompetence of Swimming Australia a few years ago, this event, once a huge part of Aussie sporting life, is off the radar.

In their infinite wisdom, Swimming Australia signed an eight-year television deal with OneHD to allow them to telecast their events and the World Championships.

While the deal increased the amount of swimming on OneHD, it came at cost by removing it from the mainstream channels.

Before I go on I must point out that I understand why OneHD keeps the sport on its digital channel and that its coverage is very good.

Whatever you think of Channel 9, however, it televised in prime-time and swimming was rewarded with viewership of around one-million, and in Olympic years around 1.2 million.

This made swimming the only Olympic sport that survived the four-year cycle of little publicity.


Now with the OneHD deal, not even one-hour of swimming highlights is televised on Channel Ten.

Gone from mainstream television are our national championships and the popular World Championships, depriving our swim stars and the sport in general of exposure.

If competing for the corporate dollar wasn’t already hard against the might of the four football codes, Swimming Australia has made it harder for itself.

Swimming Australia must be wondering why it couldn’t replace Telstra as a sponsor for its national team, but it is staring them right in the face – not enough exposure.

The OneHD contract has pushed swimming back to the rank of other Olympic sports in the public’s mind.

The sad thing is that this contract keeps going for another five years and until then the once mighty sport will be reduced to an also ran bar seven Olympic days – and it’s all Swimming Australia’s fault.