In response to the shutdown and the suspension of professional sports, several broadcasting and wagering sponsors have not only waived fees over the last few months, but are supporting their pub partners by waiving June fees as well.

The return of the NRL and AFL has coincided with pubs re-opening, making it even more advantageous for pubs to be broadcasting live sport as a way of bringing in patrons and increasing spend. While the return of professional sport is still quite limited, it makes the matches that are shown even more appealing to deprived fans.

Data from Sportsyear, the sports scheduling and marketing platform, has found that the traffic across its network has surged over the first week of June, as fans want to consume live sports in-venue once more.

“Sportsyear search requests are already around two-thirds of what they were before the pandemic hit, which is remarkable considering sport has not yet fully re-emerged,” stated Sportsyear co-founder Patrick Galloway.

“Based on the traffic we are seeing, sports fans are clearly still interested in considering attending a pub or club to catch the game and break out of isolation.”

However, paying the related costs of showing matches and supporting wagering services is difficult for many operators right now, at a time when the coffers have run dry for two months. Foxtel Business and Tabcorp are aware of the issue, and have as such decided to extend the waiving of fees for the month of June, to ease some of the pressure on operators.

“In March we saw the cancellation of live sports and venues having to close their doors due to the government restrictions. As a result, we made the decision to suspend our subscription charges,” stated Greg Bohlsen, national manager – licensed venues for Foxtel Business.

“While some venues began to trade again and some live sport, including NRL and AFL, returned in May and June, we recognised that it was in a much-limited capacity so we have continued to suspend billing for those months. We value our customers and want to support them as they rebuild their business at this challenging time.”

Tabcorp has also support to its licensed venue partners by suspending payment of relevant fees from venues under Sky Racing, TAB, Keno and MAX contracts for April, May and now for June. It has also suspended the payment of wagering fees and commissions for this period, during which venues have largely been unable to trade.

Tabcorp Executive General Manager – Wagering Andy Wright said:  “We recognise this remains a very challenging time for our partners, and indeed all businesses and the community.

“So we’ve been working with all our stakeholders — including pubs and clubs — so we can collectively come out of the COVID-19 lockdown period as strongly as possible.

“It is in that spirit that we extended the suspension of fees payable under these contracts through June as venues begin to get back on their feet and resume trading.”

Many venues are now looking to capitalise on sports broadcasts while trading in a restricted fashion. You can read about how some operators are going about this in our feature in the June issue of Australian Hotelier.

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