Australian cricket’s new TV deal: All the key questions answered

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By Scott Pryde, Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    Well, it’s happened. Cricket’s TV rights have changed hands for the next six years, with Fox Sports and Channel Seven picking them up in a mammoth deal.

    There are plenty of questions needing to be answered and, luckily for you, they are all here in the one spot.

    » End of an era confirmed: Foxtel and Seven snatch cricket rights from Nine
    » Foxtel revolutionised rugby league on TV, can they do the same for cricket?

    Who, how much and how long?
    The new deal involves Channel Seven and Fox Sports in a joint agreement. Seven are essentially doing a swap from tennis to cricket, while Fox Sports are the big winners, adding every game Australia will play to their summer line-up.

    The deal is touted to be worth $1.182 billion over a six-year period. It’s a big win for Cricket Australia, given the total value of the last deal was only around $450 million in total over five years. This is more than double that on a year-by-year basis.

    Which cricket is going to be shown where?
    The new deal, for the first time, will put ODI and international T20 cricket behind a paywall. Fox Sports will have exclusive coverage of Australia’s international limited overs cricket in a major coup for the network.

    Test cricket, still on the anti-siphoning list, will be shown on Channel Seven and Fox Sports in a simulcast agreement.

    The Big Bash League will be split between the two networks, with the finals still set to be shown on free-to-air TV through Seven. The season is expanded to 59 games in a home-and-away format, with 16 shown exclusively on Fox.

    On the domestic front, the Sheffield Shield final and 13 JLT one-day series matches will be broadcast on Fox Sports, as well as tour matches.

    Women’s cricket also receives a boost, with every international match and 23 WBBL matches set to be simulcast across the two networks.

    Where does it leave Channel Nine and Channel Ten?
    Put simply, neither network is going to be in a great spot without the TV rights to Australia’s iconic summer sport.

    It’s going to leave Nine without any sporting content during the 2019 summer, something which is simply unheard of. They recently signed a new reported $60 million per year deal to show the Australian summer of tennis, but it doesn’t begin until 2020.

    Seven having the tennis this summer potentially creates scheduling headaches though, with the network unwilling to broadcast the Olympics and Commonwealth Games across all three of their stations. Given the tennis is generally shown on 7 and 7TWO, it’ll be interesting to see exactly how the network juggle the sporting action.

    For 40 years, Nine have had the cricket as the staple of their summer content, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can fill the void.

    Ten will also be left without a major sports offering. Currently, they have one A-League match per week to go with the BBL, but it’s simulcast from Fox, is broadcast on ONE, and receives low ratings more often than not.

    Without the BBL, their sporting line-up for summers to come looks bare.

    With Supercars, Formula 1 and the A-League locked down, it’s unclear where Nine and Ten (the former for this summer at least) will turn to for sports content. The NBL is rumoured to be chasing a new free-to-air broadcaster, but with Fox Sports holding the rights, it would be similar to the A-League – a maximum of one or two games per week.

    What about the World Cup and 2019 Ashes series?
    Channel Nine already have contracts in place to cover all of the 2019 Ashes Series in England, the 2019 Cricket World Cup and the 2020 World T20, which is set to be hosted in Australia. Of course, that’s because those deals are worked out with the International Cricket Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board, who govern those events, rather than Cricket Australia, who only have control over cricket played Down Under.

    Nine will obviously hold onto the deals for those events, but it could throw a spanner in the works nonetheless. For the 2015 Ashes, Nine sent their own team of commentators over to England – by the middle of 2019, they may not have a dedicated cricket team anymore.

    The World Cup and World T20 broadcasts shouldn’t be effected, given Nine will simply pick up on the international English feed provided by ICC rights holder Star Sports, as they did for matches played during the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia, including those featuring the host nation.

    What about other overseas cricket?
    There shouldn’t be much of a change here. Fox Sports currently deal with overseas cricket boards to ensure all of Australia’s Test, ODI and T20 cricket gets shown back at home.

    They will continue to do that one would expect, given this deal has no bearing on the showing of cricket played away from home. Cricket Australia don’t control it and without a big enough audience to interest free-to-air broadcasters outside of the Ashes, it will still be hidden to those without Foxtel.

    Who will host and commentate?
    Seven have put on show a deep stable of hosts over their Olympic and Commonwealth Games broadcasts. The free-to-air network are likely to be led by Mel McLaughlin, who did a superb job when she was with Ten and hosted the Big Bash League.

    McLaughlin has been at Seven since before the 2016 Rio Olympics and is likely to have a big role in their coverage over the summer, given she has usually worked on their tennis coverage.

    Jim Wilson is another hosting name who springs to mind. With plenty of cricket to be shown, including likely double-headers in the BBL, one host isn’t going to be enough, and Wilson has been another fixture of their tennis and multi-sport event coverage.

    In terms of commentators, it’s hard to say exactly what is going to happen.

    For Fox Sports, it would pay to look at their model simulcasting the NRL, where they have their own commentators, hosts and broadcast graphics. It’s likely it will all follow over to the cricket, and they would be expected to use the talent already on their books first and foremost.

    In coverage of previous overseas cricket, they have used names like Brendon Julian, Allan Border and Mark Waugh. They will also need to chase outside their boundaries, with plenty of cricket personalities now looking for a new home.

    Nine’s host, Mark Nicholas, along with all their commentators – Shane Warne, Michael Clarke, Ian Chappell and Michael Clarke just to name a few – as well as Ten’s Big Bash League team including names like Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Mark Howard will all be up for grabs.

    It may also be an opportunity for new broadcasters to be introduced, but all will be revealed in due course.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 2000 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (83)

    • Roar Guru

      April 13th 2018 @ 3:48pm
      AdelaideDocker said | April 13th 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

      Doesn’t Ten still have the rights to the Supercars? Or am I completely wrong here.

      • Roar Guru

        April 13th 2018 @ 3:50pm
        Scott Pryde said | April 13th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

        Should have explained that better – they have limited coverage of Supercars. I.e. 6 rounds per year, which is not in anyway a good sports offering if you’re trying to follow the series without Fox, who cover every round.

      • April 13th 2018 @ 10:12pm
        Jameswm said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

        Who cares?

        • April 14th 2018 @ 11:34am
          tim said | April 14th 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

          Probably fans of the Supercars… I would’ve thought that would be pretty obvious…

    • April 13th 2018 @ 3:57pm
      Marcus said | April 13th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

      CA will come to regret this deal.

      All matches should be available on free to air. I won’t subscribe to Foxtel, nor will I go to any games.

      • Roar Guru

        April 13th 2018 @ 4:13pm
        spruce moose said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

        Aren’t ODI’s on the anti-syphoning list? They’ll have to show them on FTA no?

        On the plus side, this might mean Channel 7 will have to finally get their butts into gear and start broadcasting 7two and 7mate at HD.

        They can’t possibly expect to broadcast tennis or cricket at SD.

        • April 13th 2018 @ 6:21pm
          Marshall said | April 13th 2018 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

          Tennis is going to Channel 9, and ODI’s and T20I’s have been removed from anti-siphoning

          • Roar Guru

            April 13th 2018 @ 6:26pm
            Ryan H said | April 13th 2018 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

            Oh have they? If so that’s a relief as I thought CA were aware and just proceeding anyway

        • Roar Pro

          April 13th 2018 @ 8:26pm
          Barry & Zac said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:26pm | ! Report

          I looked the the Anti-Siphoning and it is ONLY A SUGGESTION written by the minister for communications in 2010. The minister can intervene but it isnt a law or anything

        • Columnist

          April 13th 2018 @ 8:32pm
          Glenn Mitchell said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

          Spruce, ODIs are on the anti-siphoning list however that is only relevant if a FTA network is interested in showing them.

          It appears on the deal that has been signed that Seven has no interest in covering the ODIs which allows it to go straight to Foxtel.

          • April 13th 2018 @ 11:48pm
            Bakkies said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:48pm | ! Report

            Also means that Foxsports can on sell them to Channel 7 or whoever.

          • April 14th 2018 @ 11:41am
            Timmuh said | April 14th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

            Well, what if Nine, Ten, ABC or SBS make it clear they are willing to show them. Can Foxtel be forced on-sell rights even if at a considerable loss? Or is this the first major abuse of a gaping hole in the anti-siphoning laws?

      • Roar Pro

        April 13th 2018 @ 8:28pm
        Barry & Zac said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

        Maybe more people will come back to Test cricket??
        I mean I love test cricket and I was one of the seemingly small number that liked Channel 9’s team. If 7 reveal a terrible com team i might have to switch of myself.

    • April 13th 2018 @ 4:07pm
      Nick Symonds said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

      “The English Cricket Board sold their national team rights to the highest bidder after the 2005 Ashes, at a moment when interest in the game there was at a generational high-water mark.

      Some 7.4 million people watched the conclusion of the final match of the 2005 Ashes — on a Monday — when it was on a free-to-air-channel, compared with under 2 million for the same point of the series in 2009, when it was on subscription service Sky.”

      http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-13/cricket-shift-to-7-foxtel-could-see-familiar-faces-gone/9654128

      • April 13th 2018 @ 11:22pm
        Dexter The Hamster said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:22pm | ! Report

        I was living in England when it went behind the paywall, and cricket has suffered. Its sad that the ODI’s have gone that way, maybe the Tests will go the same way.

    • April 13th 2018 @ 4:08pm
      Ed said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

      There has to be changes to the anti-siphoning list as the current agreement, which began on 17th October 2017, says:

      Note points 3 and 4.

      7 Cricket

      (1) Each test match that:

      (a) involves the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia; and

      (b) is played in Australia.

      (2) Each test match that:

      (a) involves both:

      (i) the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia; and

      (ii) the senior English representative team; and

      (b) is played in the United Kingdom.

      (3) Each one day cricket match that:

      (a) involves the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia; and

      (b) is played in Australia.

      (4) Each Twenty20 cricket match that:

      (a) involves the senior Australian representative team selected by Cricket Australia; and

      (b) is played in Australia.

      https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017C00987

      • April 13th 2018 @ 4:28pm
        Patrick Moran said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

        They certainly attempted to avoid discussing this in the press conference, although Sutherland indicated that the Minister is aware. It will be interesting to see how this element of the deal plays out.

        • Roar Guru

          April 13th 2018 @ 4:42pm
          Con Scortis said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

          What Murdoch wants, Murdoch gets

          • April 13th 2018 @ 5:02pm
            Phast phil said | April 13th 2018 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

            The government will fall over to accomodate fox in 5 minutes

            • Roar Guru

              April 13th 2018 @ 5:30pm
              Rellum said | April 13th 2018 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

              7 would have to want to show it. The laws are about giving fta networks first dibs. If none of them have an intetest then fox has a greenlight

              • April 13th 2018 @ 11:50pm
                Bakkies said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:50pm | ! Report

                Channel 10 or 7 can buy it off Foxsports at a reduced rate.

        • Roar Pro

          April 13th 2018 @ 8:29pm
          Barry & Zac said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

          I emailed the minister so hopefully he will listen to my reasoning

    • April 13th 2018 @ 4:08pm
      Damo said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

      With cricket to cover summer, Fox may let go of the NBL rights as they might not see it as a threat to BBL.
      I don’t think they’ve paid much for it anyway with rumours LK had to fork out himself just to get the deal done. So it may not be inconceivable that 10 or 9 (unlikely) could snap them up on the cheap to fill their summer schedule.

      • April 14th 2018 @ 11:31am
        Bilbo said | April 14th 2018 @ 11:31am | ! Report

        Fox got those rights for next to nothing and the season last for five months, not three like the cricket

        It’s good filler for their remaining six channels

    • April 13th 2018 @ 4:09pm
      Kangajets said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

      What about the cricket app that shows all the cricket on iPads and phones ??

      What about live abc digital radio ?

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