Cricket Australia sticks with Seven and Fox Sports in new broadcast rights deal

Cricket Australia has rejected interest from outside parties and decided to extend its multi-million dollar contract with current broadcasters Fox Sports and the Seven Network.

According to the rumored agreement, Seven will continue to air home Test summer matches and a few Big Bash League games, while Fox would continue to air Test matches, the BBL, white-ball international matches, and other domestic events.

According to News Corp, the new contract will start when the present one expires in 2024 and will last for five years.

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The main suitor looking to snare the cricket was the American media behemoth Paramount, which owns Network Ten. Paramount reportedly made Cricket Australia a $1.5 billion offer, which was more attractive than the ones put forth by the Australian networks.

The A-League and Australian football international matches are televised on Paramount Plus, a streaming service that Paramount launched in Australia in August 2021.

However, it is understood that CA believed neither Paramount Plus nor its ailing free-to-air network Network Ten could match the broadcast hosts’ present reach.

According to a spokesman for Paramount ANZ, no official bid was ever made.

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The spokesperson said, “We understand the interest in the most recent Cricket media rights process and, despite reports to the contrary by various media outlets, Paramount considered the rights on offer. It became clear, following consistent discussions with Cricket Australia, that our objectives and views on the future presentation of the sport and its value were not aligned.”

Nearly 1.3 million of Fox’s 4.4 million customers use the streaming service Kayo, while Seven’s Test coverage has remained one of the most popular shows on free-to-air television this summer.

Although Paramount Plus has not yet released its statistics, market research expert Roy Morgan estimated in August that the platform had about 400,000 local subscribers.

In contrast to the AFL, which turned down Paramount’s advances last year even though it was the biggest bidder, CA has chosen to ignore Paramount.

The new agreement represents a burying of the hatchet between CA and Seven after the network sued CA in federal court to have the final two years of its six-year contract terminated due to claimed violations.

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Seven was believed to have been willing to abandon the complaint provided the present contracts were extended. Seven had been seeking records to ascertain whether CA had used “reasonable endeavors” to guarantee the BBL matched the standard of competing leagues, particularly the Indian Premier League.

With this week’s third Test against South Africa, which gets underway at the SCG on Wednesday, the home Test summer comes to an end.

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