Nine under gun to retain cricket rights
Bald Archy entry 'Simply Marvellous' a portrait of cricket commentator Richie Benaud by James Brennan. AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Cricket Australia has gained a significant boost in television revenue from Europe and are poised for a bigger one domestically with Channel Nine being challenged to continue their 33-season broadcasting stranglehold.
Nine’s free-to-air hold of cricket is under threat from both the Seven and Ten Networks who are eying the broadcast rights from next year.
Media insiders say Seven is desperate to take control of the nation’s top-rating summer sport when Nine’s current seven-year deal, believed to be worth almost $350 million over seven years, expires in March.
Nine have the inside running as they have an “exclusive negotiating period” with CA executives but may struggle to retain the rights if they can’t seal the deal before it ends and a bidding war develops.
The domestic contract is the last left for CA to finalise after they announced a new four-year agreement with British broadcaster Sky Sports to televise international and domestic matches in the UK and parts of Europe.
The amount was kept under wraps but is known to be a significant increase on the previous Sky deal, boosted partly due to the tension in the UK sporting market.
CA chief executive James Sutherland said the value of the deal, taking in the 2013-14 Ashes, reflected the strength of cricket.
“England tours Australia twice in the next four year period, including an Ashes series in 2013-14, and no doubt these are jewels in the crown for our renewal with Sky Sports,” he said.
Sutherland said CA, whose most lucrative broadcast deal is in the Indian market, had renewed agreements in all major cricket territories to put the organisation in a strong financial position.
“We have one major media rights agreement to complete the backbone of our broadcast portfolio, and that is in the Australian market,” he said.
“We want to deliver the best results for cricket fans and our members, that’s our objective.”
After missing out on the NRL this winter to Nine, media analysts say Seven is cashed up for a major tilt at cricket and their executives have reportedly met with CA several times to show their interest.
The governing body also looks well positioned to reap greater revenue from next year with the popular Twenty20 Big Bash League, currently broadcast solely by Fox Sports, in the sights of free-to-air networks.
Without a major sporting code in its stable, Ten has also expressed interest in the BBL following a massive 82 percent increase in its viewing audience last season on Fox.© AAP 2013
The Roar needs an editor! Tristan is off to tackle a new role with us over on Techly.com.au, which means we're looking for someone to fill his boots. Love sport, know digital publishing (yes, that does mean being a bit of computer guru) and keen to work with the team in Newcastle? If you're a proven superstar, or someone on the rise with a record to back it up, we want to hear from you. Apply now!
We're also looking for freelance writers who know tech, gadgets, games and trends inside and out to join us on this new adventure. Get in touch if you've got the goods.
Video brought to you by The Roar