Channel Ten fires $500m bid for cricket rights

Elisha Pearce Columnist

By Elisha Pearce, Elisha Pearce is a Roar Expert

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    Ten Network has dropped a $500 million bid on Cricket Australia in the latest round of negotiations for the next five years of broadcast rights.

    The Australian Financial Review has reported the network has tabled a deal worth $500 million and now Nine Entertainment Co. has four weeks to decide whether it can match the deal as it holds a ‘last rights’ deal with Cricket Australia.

    All Test and limited-over matches as well as domestic competitions were included in the deal tabled at the end of a four-week exclusive negotiation period Network Ten had with Cricket Australia.

    This announcement heralds a possible new future for Cricket in Australia. For decades now the home of cricket has been Channel Nine with Richie, Bill, Tony, Ian and the boys bringing the familiar coverage into homes every summer.

    The approach in recent years has been to infuse the commentary and presentation teams with younger talent, which at times has been quite successful (Mark Taylor) and other times has lowered the standard of broadcast (Michael Slater, Ian Healy).

    If the incumbents cannot match the mammoth offer – which is around $120 million more than most insiders were predicting and expecting – that approach becomes history.

    A lawsuit filed by Cricket Australia against Channel Nine would suggest the relationship is rocky at best and a new broadcaster is looking more likely.

    Some new voices and faces will be needed introduce us to the wear on the pitch, weather elements and, thankfully, The Block will be a much less prominent feature of broadcasting.

    Network Ten have made some fairly splashy hires since taking over the Wallabies rights – bringing Gordon Bray and Matt Burke into the fold – and will have to pay some good money to lure in high profile cricket callers and analysts.

    On top of that it is speculated Network Ten will actually lose money on the deal in a bid to win viewing numbers they’ve been bleeding to the other commercial networks.

    The rights also include the Big Bash League, which was previously on Fox Sports (who paid $12.5 million) and the Ryobi Cup and Sheffield Shield finals.

    That is a lot of sport to find room for, on top of internationals.

    One interesting aspect to think about is the option for more domestic games to be shown on free-to-air television for the first time in years. Network Ten may be able to negotiate time slots to make this available on their ONE HD channel.

    Times are changing in Australian cricket – look for the Big Bash League to find a prominent home on television going forward, this will bring smiles to casual fans and Cricket Australia executives alike.

    Elisha Pearce
    Elisha Pearce

    Long-time Roarer Elisha Pearce joined us as a rugby union expert in 2015. He also works for Fairfax Media and has confused more Roarers with his name than anyone in the history of the site.

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    The Crowd Says (42)

    • May 10th 2013 @ 1:31pm
      Midfielder said | May 10th 2013 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

      Huge news…

    • May 10th 2013 @ 1:31pm
      Timmuh said | May 10th 2013 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

      That Ten are making a serious bid is somewhat surprising. Cricket doesn’t really fit what has been their target audience, although they have been edging away from their “youth focus” in the last couple of years it still seems to have been the priority.

      Scheduling could become a nightmare, Ten presumably will not want BBL and international cricket on at the same time. As for cross-promotion, one network’s Block is another network’s Masterchef or Idol; there might be a change of product, there will be no change of promotion. Hopefully if Ten does get the gig Michael Slater stays with the NRL Footy Show and is not poached across (as some no doubt would be).

      • Roar Rookie

        May 10th 2013 @ 2:29pm
        josh said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

        BBL is all youth.

      • May 10th 2013 @ 2:57pm
        Don Corleone said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        I think Ten has ditched the ‘yoof’ channel strategy and want to be a major player in the market.

        They are guaranteed ratings of 900k-1mil with the cricket. A move to 6pm news will see tests lead into it, ODIs or twilight tests broadcast either side of it and T20Is/BBL proceeding it.

        Ten is offering Cricket Australia the broadcast domestic cricket, which Nine is refusing to do. Fans will be the winners if Ten wins the rights.

      • May 10th 2013 @ 5:22pm
        Tenash said | May 10th 2013 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

        we all know what their “youth focus” has got them.

        As for scheduling , already international cricket & BBL don’t coincide. So that shouldn’t be a problem

    • May 10th 2013 @ 1:38pm
      Christo the Daddyo said | May 10th 2013 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

      If this results in James Brayshaw not being involved in cricket commentating it will be totally worth it.

      • May 10th 2013 @ 2:17pm
        Felix said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

        I’m good for a tenner if it keeps him off the air.

      • May 10th 2013 @ 2:19pm
        Shmick said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

        Brayshaw would possibly be my favourite commentator. He’s actually enjoyable to listen to.

        • May 10th 2013 @ 2:55pm
          Christo the Daddyo said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

          Thanks for your input Mrs Brayshaw.

          • May 10th 2013 @ 6:40pm
            Lukeling said | May 10th 2013 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

            Ha!

      • May 10th 2013 @ 2:31pm
        Nick said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

        Can this please be the end of Mark Nicholas on Australian television. I wish him all the best back in the UK or in any other country.

      • Roar Guru

        May 10th 2013 @ 3:17pm
        TheGenuineTailender said | May 10th 2013 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

        With you all the way Christo!

      • May 10th 2013 @ 3:28pm
        Tanami Singh said | May 10th 2013 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

        Ha no more “HERE COMES THE BIG SHOW!!!!” +1 for that

    • Roar Rookie

      May 10th 2013 @ 1:44pm
      Wilson Flatley said | May 10th 2013 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

      This is good news I think. A clean out Is required and a fresh approach. They are basing their entire business structure on this move so will be forced to throw a lot of money into quality programming. I was very disappointed when 9 retained the rugby league rights and kept their one live game a week system.

    • May 10th 2013 @ 2:08pm
      Badi Sheidaee said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

      I think the big bash on free to air is huge coup. All and all I think this would be a big win

    • May 10th 2013 @ 2:43pm
      Chairman Kaga said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

      Channel Nine has screwed cricket for decades. They destroyed domestic cricket.

      Them leaving the scene would be a wonderful day for cricket. The end of decades of tyranny.

      Just hoping the NBN comes sooner rather than later to end these clowns reign who have had us by the short n curlies for decades. They are the greatest reason to pirate, so we can kill them off sooner!

      • May 10th 2013 @ 2:45pm
        p.Tah said | May 10th 2013 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

        Nine destroy every sport they touch. It’d be a breath of fresh air for Ten to have the rights.

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