The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has called on the ABC to reconsider their decision to not pursue radio broadcast rights for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The ABC initially declined to gain non-commercial radio broadcast rights from the official broadcast rights-holder, Seven Network, due to the cost involved with producing live coverage and budget pressure from the Australian Government.
AOC chief executive, Matt Carroll, said this decision from the ABC will negatively affect and disappoint millions of Australians who rely on the ABC for their Olympic Games coverage.
“The ABC should reconsider this decision.
“The AOC is prepared to put this case to the chair of the ABC directly, on behalf of the eight million Australians who participate in Olympic sports,” Mr Carroll said.
“Not to mention the millions more who follow, support and celebrate those athletes.
“The AOC believes the decision is monumentally short-sighted and a great let down to Australians who rely on their national broadcaster, from the smallest of communities to our suburbs.
“We live in times when we need to inspire even more Australians to participate in sport to defeat the growing scourges of obesity and mental illness,” he said.
In a statement to The Guardian, an ABC spokesperson said there were a lot of factors that led to this difficult decision.
“This is an incredibly tough decision, especially given our 67-year run as the official non-commercial Olympic Games radio broadcaster.
“Due to competing budget priorities coupled with the fact that Australians can access Olympic Games coverage in many other ways, we have chosen not to pursue rights in 2020,” the spokesperson said.
Following the initial announcement, the ABC’s head of radio, Judith Whelan, said the decision was simply “a money issue”.
The ABC claimed it would cost $1 million to stage its coverage of the Games, while also currently trying to find $84 million savings as a result of government budget cuts over recent years.
The ABC began their non-commercial radio broadcast rights of the summer Olympic Games in 1952 for the Helsinki Olympic Games, and since then, has been a staple for Australians for the four-yearly event that captures the world.