“Fox Sports has worked hard over the past year to produce, televise and build audiences for women’s and under-represented sport in Australia, which have struggled to secure coverage on free-to-air television,” he said.

“The careers of many athletes in under-represented sports, particularly female athletes, have flourished as a result of the coverage.”

Some critics have argued the federal government should have distributed the $30 million grant to public broadcasters so Australians can view such sports free of charge. However Mr Campbell said Foxtel was “uniquely placed” to boost coverage of niche and emerging sports thanks to eight dedicated 24-hour channels as well as its ties to streaming platform Kayo.

“Obviously COVID-19 is impacting all sport at present,” he said. “We are confident that women’s and under-represented sport will be back and we can deliver strongly against the requirements of the grant again for 2020-21.”

An injection of $7.5 million would provide some relief for Foxtel’s balance sheet. The company has undergone three rounds of job cuts this year and has been offering customers significant discounts to compensate for the loss of live sport. The company has also sought a multimillion-dollar discount for the resumed NRL season.

A spokesman from the Communications department said the government would review Foxtel’s latest expenditure breakdown, as well as its plan for the new financial year, in the coming months.

“The department will make an assessment as to the basis for payment following receipt of these reports,” he said.

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