Pay-TV network Fox Sports and commercial broadcaster Seven Network have agreed a landmark domestic rights deal with Cricket Australia (CA).
The six-year contract is worth a whopping AUD$1.182 billion (US$913.4 million), giving both channels the rights to all men’s Test matches and all women’s internationals.
Fox Sports will have exclusive rights to the men’s one-day and T20 internationals, marking the first time that limited-over internationals have been taken behind a pay wall in Australia.
The agreement will also see Fox Sports and Seven show 43 games each season from the Big Bash League (BBL) men’s Twenty20 tournament, and 23 matches per year from the Women’s BBL (WBBL).
The remaining 16 men’s BBL games will be shown exclusively on Fox Sports, while the 36 WBBL games not aired by either broadcaster will be live streamed on Cricket Network through cricket.com.au and the CA Live App.
In addition, Fox Sports will broadcast 13 domestic One-Day Cup games and the Sheffield Shield final, along with some international tour matches.
The deal also includes a new partnership between Fox Sports and Cricket Network, CA’s digital arm. The collaboration ensures that CA’s digital channels will continue to carry on-demand highlights of all cricket in Australia, while also giving Fox Sports digital rights for its platforms.
The deal ends Nine Network’s long-running affiliation with home cricket in Australia and also marks a significant increase in the value of the rights. The previous agreement, which also saw commercial broadcaster Ten hold rights to the BBL, was believed to be worth around AUD$600 million (US$468 million) over five years.
CA chief executive James Sutherland said: “It’s fair to say that the interest in our rights during this process has been unprecedented. We’re very excited about what the future holds with both Fox Sports and the Seven West Media.
“This sets the game up to be in even stronger shape, as we are on track to exceed 1.5 million participants this season. This revolutionary deal will enable increased investment in grassroots cricket through our programs and further developing facilities, expanding new participation formats to grow junior cricket, supporting clubs and associations to grow the game for women and girls and more investment in the talent pathway to develop Australia’s next generation of cricketers.
“What we are particularly proud of in this partnership is the focus on extending our broadcast coverage of women’s matches. Our partners are key to inspiring more women and girls to pick up a bat and ball. If more elite content is accessible to fans be it on TV or through their mobile devices, we’re helping tap into new audiences to attract them to the sport.”