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Cricket Australia secures $1.2 billion broadcast deal

Cricket Australia secures $1.2 billion broadcast deal
April 13, 2018

Cricket Australia has put a challenging few weeks behind it with a massive new $1.2 billion broadcasting deal, which puts one-day internationals and and T20 Internationals behind a pay wall for the first time.

The deal, worth $1.182 billion, sees the Seven Network and Fox Sports broadcast the Australian summer of cricket for the next six years, replacing broadcasters Nine and Ten.

The deal sees the end of a four-decade relationship between the sport and the Nine Network but comes after it won Australian tennis broadcasting rights, ending Seven's hold on televising the Australian Open.

However, the move to take the 50-over One Day and T20 Internationals behind a pay wall faces significant regulatory hurdles as both shorter forms of the international game are included in the Federal Government's anti-siphoning list, which requires that they be available on free-to-air television.

Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said he would be working through the regulatory requirements, advising "One Day Internationals will be on Fox Sports and we are working with Fox Sports to come to a landing point for the regulatory requirements.”

Sutherland emphasised that there would be more cricket than ever on free-to-air television, adding “the amount of cricket across Foxtel and Seven, the amount of free-to-air cricket is greater than ever before - there is a commitment to women's cricket, Tests, 23 women's big bash league matches (will be broacast).

"We will have more content on television over the next five years than ever before.

Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the arrangements are similar to those in place for AFL and NRL matches, where all events are on the anti-siphoning list but some are available exclusively on a subscription broadcaster.

Senator Fifield advised “the Government is pleased that all Test matches and the vast majority of an expanded schedule of Big Bash League matches will remain available free to the public.

"It is for Cricket Australia to explain how the arrangements they have entered into are in the interests of cricket fans and participants."

Senator Fifield said it was up to the Australian Communications and Media Authority to consider key industry developments to ensure that industry complies with the rules.

Seven and Fox Sports will broadcast all Tests on home soil as well as simulcast a further 43 Big Bash games. Fox Sports will televise another 16 Big Bash games exclusively.

Women's test cricket and Big Bash League games will be broadcast on both free-to-air and pay-TV platforms while domestic one-day matches and the Sheffield Shield final will be carried on Fox Sports.

Cricket Australia had been under pressure to deliver a big broadcast deal having asked all parties to resubmit tenders earlier this year after a disappointing first round of bids.

The recent disastrous tour of South Africa, which led to heavy sanctions against captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft over ball-tampering in the midst of a pulverising 3-1 series defeat, did not appear to harm Cricket Australia's negotiating position.

Sutherland concluded “cricket has been through a tough couple of weeks, but cricket is resilient.

"We obviously have a lot of rebuilding to do and we have spoken to our partners about it."

Nine still has deals in place to broadcast the next Ashes series from England, the ODI World Cup in the UK in 2019 and in 2020 the T20 World Cups to be held in Australia.

Image: Day night Test cricket at the Adelaide Oval.

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