Uniting the nation around big sporting moments goes to the heart of what SBS aims to do – celebrating diversity and bringing people together. Whilst competition for rights and audiences is increasing, SBS continued to unite Australia’s communities through quality coverage of some of the world’s biggest events.
FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™
SBS’s multiplatform coverage of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ celebrated an incredible tournament and showcased SBS’s commitment to promoting the event and the growth of women’s football.
Esteemed sports journalist, Tracey Holmes, led the SBS broadcast team alongside former Socceroo Captain, Craig Foster and Matildas legend, Joey Peters. The SBS broadcast also featured live commentary from France from respected broadcaster David Basheer alongside former Matilda, Sarah Walsh, providing the match call from stadiums across France for 12 live matches. The team also hosted 24 highlights shows, and 23 #WorldGameLIVE Twitter shows across 31 days.
SBS executed extensive digital editorial coverage of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™, providing audiences with the latest news and opinion from the Matildas and all the big talking points from France 2019.
The SBS broadcast team demonstrated once again a unique capacity to capture and share the emotion of sport during the World Cup, providing a platform for powerful discussions on a range of topics such as women’s rights, issues impacting the LGBTIQ+ community, and gender equality.
SBS reached three million Australians across the live matches.
SBS Learn – Everyone’s Game
Everyone’s Game, a classroom resource, was produced by SBS Learn in partnership with SBS Sport to celebrate diversity and women’s football, with classroom activities inspired by the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™. See page SBS Learn for further information.
The World Game show on NITV
SBS Sport in collaboration with NITV launched a new edition of The World Game show. The weekly news program delivered audiences highlights and previews, plus all the best action from the football world. Lowanna Grant took on the hosting role for NITV’s edition of The World Game, bringing NITV viewers the first ever football news show. The World Game on NITV provided an opportunity to engage Indigenous and non-Indigenous viewers alike with football news from an Indigenous perspective.
SBS continued its commitment to supporting Indigenous football by again partnering with NT Football. Craig Foster hosted the Australian Indigenous Football Championships for the organisation. The men’s and women's finals series were live streamed to The World Game Facebook page attracting 40,000 views and strong audience engagement.
An historic evening of football from Darwin was supported by The World Game with the first ever Women’s Premier League match between newly-promoted Northern Territory Yapa’s, Australia’s only Indigenous women’s team, and the Hellenic Athletic Women. The live stream on the SBS The World Game website provided audiences a unique viewing opportunity to see the Yapa’s make history as the first Indigenous women’s team to play in a Premier League competition in Australia.
Australians were captivated by the 106th Tour de France as SBS’s multiplatform coverage captured every moment of the competition, along with a taste of French culture that sets this worldwide sporting spectacle apart.
SBS’s coverage extended beyond the race itself, with two daily highlights programs in the morning and evening, as well as daily stage replays. Each night’s race broadcast was interspersed with interviews with riders and Tour personalities, behind the scenes segments and in-depth analysis; this was all complemented by SBS’s food program, Gabriel Gate’s Taste Le Tour.
SBS’s coverage of the world’s most iconic cycling event reached 4.1 million viewers. SBS’s Tour de France coverage across digital platforms also attracted audiences, with SBS serving a total of 2.28 million video chapter views.
International cycling offering
In 2019-20, SBS secured the exclusive broadcast rights to eight international cycling events in a new agreement with the owners and organisers of the Tour de France, Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.).
The eight major races added to SBS’s cycling offering included the Tour of Oman, Volta a Catalunya, Arctic Race of Norway, Tour of Turkey, Eschborn-Frankfurt, Tour de Yorkshire, Tour de Hungrie and CRO Race.
Additional cycling events broadcast in 2019-20:
- La Vuelta a España 2019
- UCI Road Worlds 2019
- Herald Sun Tour 2020
- Paris-Nice 2020
SBS, in partnership with Lateral Events and the A.S.O, held the fourth edition of L’Etape Australia by Tour de France – the largest Tour de France mass participation ride staged outside France. The event provided amateur riders a mountainous course for a Tour de France-like experience, with the SBS broadcast team hosting coverage on site in Jindabyne.
Basketball is a sport loved and played by many across Australia and participation is growing.
In 2019-20, SBS became the new free-to-air home of basketball in Australia, with every game of the National Basketball League (NBL) as well as coverage of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), marking an exciting new era for sport on SBS.
National Basketball League (NBL)
SBS has a strong heritage of championing sports that Australia’s diverse communities are passionate about, and the partnership with the NBL is a continuation of that. SBS became the exclusive free-to-air home of Australian basketball, offering more free coverage to audiences than ever before, and in HD.
The new deal provided fans with access to the entire 2019-20 NBL season live and free, on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.
The NBL Grand Finals exceeded expectations with an average audience of 75,000. Grand Final #3, Perth Wildcats v Sydney Kings, reached an average audience of 85,000 and a peak audience of 179,000. Overall, the 2019-20 NBL series reached a cumulative TV audience of two million, with one million video chapter views online.
National Basketball Association (NBA)
In August 2019, SBS and the NBA partnered in a multiyear broadcast agreement. Beginning with the 2019-20 NBA season, SBS broadcast two live, regular-season NBA games per week in HD on SBS VICELAND and on SBS On Demand.
Building on SBS’s deal with the NBL, the partnership with the NBA and the WNBA made SBS the exclusive free-to-air home of basketball in Australia and provided an exciting opportunity to bring new audiences, particularly younger viewers, to SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.
The NBA season was suspended due to COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, the 2019-20 coverage of the NBA achieved a cumulative TV reach of 1.2 million viewers and 672,000 online video chapter views.
Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA)
Continuing SBS’s active commitment to women’s sport, SBS secured the rights to the WNBA in 2019-20.
The WNBA is a professional, progressive basketball league that exemplifies the excitement and excellence of sport as well as its underlying cultural and social dynamics.
SBS Sport had an opportunity to celebrate and elevate the women’s game of basketball, however, the season was suspended due to COVID-19.
International Basketball Series
Five-time Olympian and Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze joined a star-studded commentary team for a month-long series of International Basketball games live on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.
The series featured games involving the Australian Boomers, Canada, New Zealand and USA Basketball, including two games between the Australian Boomers and the USA.
The International Basketball series reached a cumulative TV audience of 684,000 people, with 359,000 viewers aged 25-54 years.
Grand Slam Tennis
Upholding its reputation for bringing Australians premium international sporting events, SBS aired the US Open Tennis and Roland Garros French Open tennis Grand Slams, for Australians to once again enjoy for free. Both tournaments were broadcast live on SBS and SBS On Demand, and received overwhelmingly positive audience feedback.
The US Open reached 931,000 viewers. An average of 78,000 viewers tuned in to the Men's Final to see Rafael Nadal claim his 19th Grand Slam title to become the only male player to win the French Open and the US Open in the same year four times.
COVID-19 had a major impact on live sport coverage, with all planned and scheduled events postponed or cancelled from March through to June 2020. This included:
- The immediate suspension of the NBA in March
- Cancellation of NBL Grand Final Four and Five
- Cancellation of Stage Eight of the Paris–Nice Cycling and The Tour of California
- Postponement of the Roland Garros French Open and US Open to August – September 2020
- Postponement of the Tour de France to August
- Postponement of the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifying matches
SBS adapted and provided sport programming highlights and ‘Best of’ events, to remain engaged with sports fans and provide entertainment for Australian audiences.
Classic matches from the FIFA World Cups™ and FIFA Women’s World Cups™, the 2020 All-Around Gymnastics World Cup and the 2019 French Open were some of the memorable moments that Australians relived on SBS.
In the absence of the 2020 cycling classic season, and at the request of SBS’s loyal cycling audience, SBS provided a month of cycling content, to replace the original schedule, through an On Demand and linear offering. The content trended on Twitter across all four Saturday nights; it aired with the hashtag #couchpeloton. SBS received a positive audience response to the streaming, with strong social engagement.