SYDNEY (AP) — Australia’s public broadcaster has decided for the first time in almost 70 years not to buy radio rights to an Olympic Games.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. cited budgetary constraints and changes in the way audiences access content in announcing Monday that it would not broadcast live radio coverage from next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
“This is an incredibly tough decision, especially given our 67-year run as the official non-commercial Olympic Games radio broadcaster,” an ABC spokesman told the Australian Associated Press. “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 Australian Olympic Committee was among the strongest critics of the decision, saying it would lobby ABC chair Ita Buttrose to overturn it.
“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,” the national Olympic committee said. “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.”
The ABC first broadcast live radio coverage of an Olympics from Helsinki in 1952. Australia has twice hosted the Summer Games, in 1956 in Melbourne and at Sydney in 2000. (AP)