Cricket Australia has signed an historic six-year agreement with Seven West Media and Fox Sports Australia which sees cricket coverage shift from the Nine Network for the first tijme in 40 years.
Under the deal, which runs from 2018 through to 2024 Seven West Media’s domestic free-to-air broadcast rights will include:
- 43 of the 59 Big Bash League matches, including all marquee matches and finals
- All home international tests, including the 2021-22 home Ashes series
- Key Women’s Big Bash League and International matches
- The most prestigious individual prizes in Australian cricket; the Allan Border Medal and Belinda Clark Award.
The annual cash rights cost is AUD$75 million per annum over the six years.
The Chairman of Seven West Media, Kerry Stokes, said, “I am excited about having Australia’s only truly national game back on Seven. Cricket has and will always be Australia’s premier summer sport and Seven now is in the enviable position as being the first and only Free to Air broadcaster covering both it and the AFL.
“We are the premier producers of sports content in Australia, as evidenced by this year’s Winter Olympics, Australian Open, AFL and Commonwealth Games, and look forward to setting new standards for cricket coverage in the next six years.”
Seven West Media chief executive Tim Worner added, “For viewers it means the best produced Cricket, live and free on Australia’s number one Network. Seven has always been the innovator in sports coverage in Australia – from RaceCam in the 70s, to setting the standard in how AFL is covered, televising more Olympic Games than any other TV station, and introducing cutting-edge technologies and multi-channel coverage before anyone else.”
Meanwhile, Fox Sports Australia will simulcast every home Test and women’s international in conjunction with the Seven Network.
Fox Sports will also exclusively broadcast every home one-day and Twenty20 international the men’s team plays. Fox Sports will also be televising the entirety of the Big Bash League (16 matches exclusively) and simulcasting 23 Women’s Big Bash League matches with the Seven Network.
And in a boon for state cricket, domestic List A and first-class matches will return to television screens, with 13 JLT One-Day Cup matches and the Sheffield Shield Final to be broadcast on Fox Sports.
Fox Sports will also televise the annual Prime Minister’s XI and Governor-General’s XI matches.
This bumper offering of the country’s national sport will be celebrated on the network’s newest channel Fox Cricket, which continues in the footsteps of code-dedicated channels Fox League and Fox Footy. Fox Cricket will house Super Saturday each weekend and a stable of new shows will be developed.
“Fox Sports understands the immense responsibility that comes with being the broadcaster of Australian Test cricket and will take extraordinary care of this privilege,” said Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany. “We know Australians love and respect cricket and so do we. No other sport has the special place in Australia’s heart like cricket does. We promise you reverence – and revolution. In the same way we revolutionised coverage of the AFL and NRL, we will do the same for cricket. It will be like nothing fans have experienced before.”
Fox Sports has also secured the digital rights to all cricket in partnership with Cricket Australia’s digital arm, Cricket Network, giving fans the chance to stream live matches on any device.
For its part, former rights holder, Nine Entertainment Co, said in a statement that it was “immensely proud” of its decades-long association between Wide World of Sports and the game of cricket.
“We wish Cricket Australia and its new broadcast partners well for the future success of the game,” it said. “Cricket will continue to be a part of Nine’s schedule into the future with current deals in place covering the next ashes series from England in 2019, the ODI World Cup in the UK in the same year and in 2020 the T20 World Cups to be held in Australia.
“But most of all Nine is excited by our new partnership with Tennis Australia. A partnership that enables us to further evolve our business model into a new future. A partnership built on common values and vision to mutually build the game and Nine’s business as we connect with more audiences the way they choose.
“Our focus remains on the cross-platform opportunities in front of us and finding the best ways to continue to create value for our shareholders in to the future.”
Big Bash League rights holder, Network Ten, expressed disappointment in the rejection of its bid.
Network Ten Chief Executive Officer, Paul Anderson, said, “Network Ten turned the Big Bash League into the television phenomenon it is today and one of the most popular sports in Australia, a sport that all Australians were able enjoy for free. We had planned to extend that innovation to other forms of the game.
“Network Ten and our BBL team led by David Barham revolutionised the way cricket is broadcast in Australia and attracted new, younger viewers to the game. At the same time,
we invested heavily in the Women’s Big Bash League, broadcasting matches in prime time for the first time and raising its profile significantly. We are proud of everything we achieved with the BBL and WBBL,” he said.