Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government


The anti-siphoning scheme aims to give free-to-air broadcasters an initial opportunity to buy the television rights to major events included on the anti-siphoning list.

The scheme stops pay television broadcasters from buying the rights to events on the anti-siphoning list unless free-to-air broadcasters have purchased the rights to televise the event. The anti-siphoning list includes events the minister believes should be televised free to the general public.

Free-to-air broadcasters don’t have to buy the rights to televise events on the anti-siphoning list. Even if they do buy the rights, they don’t have to show the event live: they could broadcast the event later or not at all.

An event is automatically removed from the anti-siphoning list 26 weeks before the event is due to start.

The Minister's powers

The minister can override automatic delisting if satisfied that a free-to-air broadcaster has not had a reasonable chance to buy the rights.

The minister can also choose to add or remove events from the anti-siphoning list at any time. The list is a legislative instrument made under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

Pay TV operators

Pay TV broadcasters can acquire the television rights to an event if:

  • the event is automatically removed from the anti-siphoning list
  • the minister removes the event from the list
  • a national broadcaster (ABC or SBS) or commercial television broadcasters with a combined audience of more than half of the Australian population has purchased the rights
  • 7 days have passed since the end of the event.