With both the AFL and NRL securing billion dollar futures, focus has shifted to who will win the cricket broadcasting rights.
My answer is, quite surprisingly, Ten.
They can put the Big Bash League on ONE, sharing coverage with Fox Sports, and broadcast the major Aussie games on Ten.
Nine probably have the strongest desire to win the cricket coverage for the next five years but they may be cash-strapped. Ten reportedly put in an $800 million bid for the NRL rights but got knocked back after Nine and Fox Sports won the rights for $1.25B.
So it would seem Ten would have the most money out of the two free-to-air stations in their sports department at the moment.
Seven are all after the rights as well, but they may not get it because they have the tennis rights, which cross over with the cricket. Cricket Australia would want their game on Seven’s primary channel, not on a low-rating digital channel (7mate) while the tennis is aired.
It is a little surprising Fox Sports want the cricket. I mean, how can they afford it? It’s not like they are billionaires, despite being owned by News Corp.
Regardless, I suspect the lion’s share of the rights will go to Ten as Cricket Australia are aware the exposure for their game will be vastly improved on FTA.