Foxtel’s Kayo rises from the ashes

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Foxtel’s Kayo Sports was facing an uncertain future.

In February, Kayo’s subscriber base had fallen from 402,000 as of November 2019 to 370,000.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, pausing sporting events across the world including the AFL and NRL seasons.

This led to a surge in cancellation requests, dropping Kayo’s subscriber base to a low of 331,000 in May, and sending Foxtel’s customer service into a shambles.

With the reboot of sporting events across the globe, including the AFL, NRL and NBA seasons, Kayo Sports has experienced a strong resurgence.

According to Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany, Kayo Sports now has more than 600,000 subscribers, an 80% increase from its May low:

As the coronavirus pandemic escalated and governments imposed tough restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the disease, the AFL, NRL, Supercars and Super Rugby were forced to postpone their seasons.

This put immense pressure on Foxtel, which has a large sports subscriber base, and its sports streaming service Kayo, which launched in October 2018.

“For us at Foxtel it was an existential moment because sport is so much a part of our DNA,” Mr Delany said…

“Huge unemployment like we had never seen in our working lives led to quite large churn of our subscribers. No live sport meant that people weren’t watching our sports channels like they were before. Pubs and clubs were shut and that’s a very big and important part of our revenue”…

There was that terrible 2½ to 3½ months where we faced massive challenges,” Mr Delany said…

“Five months later, I suppose winners are grinners and it feels fabulous. We have record sport subscribers. Never in the history of the Foxtel Group have we had more sports subscribers”…

“We had an extraordinary moment, we had a complete rebound with Kayo. It’s now sitting at over 600,000 paid subscribers”…

That’s an impressive turnaround in a short period of time.

After downsizing by around 270 employees over six months, and with subscriber numbers rebounding, Foxtel’s future is suddenly looking brighter.

Leith van Onselen
Latest posts by Leith van Onselen (see all)


  1. darklydrawlMEMBER

    The little ‘tin foiled’ hat dude who lives on my left shoulder and whispers stuff in my ear cannot help but wonder if the sudden urge by the Feds to upgrade the NBN to higher speeds is related to Uncle Rup moving a large cohort of Foxtel customers to internet delivery via Binge/Kayo rather than down it’s legacy hardware/cable/sat feeds. Probably not, but it does make me curious.

  2. $25/month new lower pricing is the only thing between them and the toilet.

    Tards kicking the pneumatic hyde’ll have to take a pay cut.


  3. Telstra have reduced the price of Kayo for 12months for all their customers by $10 per month ie basic 2 screen package drops from $25 to $15 per month.

    That’s a large discount, can anyone find any figures on how their revenue is going?

    I think that competitive pressures plus the poor economy will tend to make the discount permanent. This should flow though to the individual sports rights pricing. Combined with lack of ticket sales and loss of sponsors (ie rugby lost their 30year sponsor in Qantas for a few years at least) outlook is very bleak for Australia and world sport at the moment.

    Kayo very fortunate that their is no competitor sports streaming service at the moment gives them monopoly pricing. A competitor would split the sports and the customers like what is going on with the other entertainment streaming services providers