Australian cricket is set for its biggest media shake-up in 40 years, with Foxtel expected to join with the Seven Network to broadcast the home summer of the sport.
Cricket Australia (CA) will likely announce a six-year deal in Sydney on Friday afternoon, after Nine and the Ten Networks confirmed they’d lost the rights.
However Channel Seven are the big winners, with a new contract set to be signed on Friday to secure the network’s first coverage of the home international summer.
“Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM) advises that it has been informed by Cricket Australia that it is the successful bidder with Foxtel,” the company said in a brief statement.
Nine’s loss of cricket comes after it secured the rights to the Australian summer of tennis, beginning from 2020.
It means the next international summer’s cricket fixtures will be the first to be played in Australia not broadcast by Nine since the late Kerry Packer took the game into the modern era.
“Nine is immensely proud of our decades long association between Wide World of Sports and the game of cricket in this country,” a Nine spokesperson said.
“We wish Cricket Australia and its new broadcast partners well for the future success of the game.
“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.”
The deal – reported by News Corp Australia to be worth $1 billion, over six years – is a coup for CA, especially after fears last month’s ball-tampering saga could affect the rights value.
Under the deal, it’s expected Pay TV provider Fox Sports will have exclusive rights to some BBL matches while simulcasting Tests and limited overs matches.
A disappointed Network Ten chief executive Paul Anderson confirmed their offer had been rejected on Friday morning, after having televised the emergent Big Bash League for the past four summers.
“We are disappointed that our bid for the cricket television rights was rejected,” Anderson said in a statement.
“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.”
Foxtel last broadcast the Big Bash League in 2012-13, when their deal also included other domestic competitions including the 50-over cup and Sheffield Shield final.