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Let\'s delegate netball to the Deputy PM, hey?

Some thoughts about the controversy over the ABC's post-midnight delayed telecast of the netball National League final on Friday (September 12).

It amused me on Thursday night to see Fox Sports News making a point of discussing the ABC coverage for the game. What, precisely, has Fox Sports done in the way of televising local netball in the 2003 season? Zilch. The national netball competition has not been shown on Pay-TV since C7 was alive.

Fox Sports, the monopoly pay-TV channel for Australian sport these days, has shown no interest in the major domestic competition for one of the country's post popular participation sports. They didn't even cover the World Championships this year.

I believe the ABC got it wrong in delaying the netball telecast till midnight. While it's fair enough to say that sport in prime-time is not part of ABC television's culture these days, I find it hard to understand why some sort of compromise could not have been reached and at least a 10.30pm replay arranged.

The ABC should, in any case, be given full credit for televising the netball World Championship final live from Jamaica one Monday morning a couple of months back. Unfortunately we probably won't see this type of event on the ABC in the foreseeable future with their new tighter program spending policy in place.

The other interesting observation was of the politicians who jumped on the bandwagon calling for a live ABC telecast: NSW premier Bob Carr, and deputy prime minister John Anderson. Not a peep from John Howard, not normally short of a gratuitous remark about national sporting events.

Of course, Don Bradman didn't play netball, did he?