Nine and Fox sign last-minute World T20 deal

Pay-TV and free-to-air agreement with Star averts Australian cricket blackout.

Nine and Fox sign last-minute World T20 deal

Nine Network and Fox Sports have secured the TV rights in Australia to the ICC World Twenty20, beginning this week in India.

Pay-TV broadcaster Fox Sports will show all 35 games from the men's short-form cricket competition live, with free-to-air channel Nine screening all of Australia's matches as well as the final. The two have agreed terms with India's Star Sports, which holds the global media rights to all International Cricket Council (ICC) events.

The last-minute agreement averts the possibility of a TV blackout for cricket's second-biggest global event in one of its biggest markets. According to reports in Australia, national broadcasters had been unwilling to meet Star Sports' demands for rights fees. Negotiations were also complicated by the World T20's presence on the country's 'anti-siphoning' laws protecting certain sporting events for free-to-air television. No financial terms were released for the eventual deal. 

No details have yet been comfirmed for Australian television coverage of the women's competition. Over the weekend, the International Cricket Council (ICC) confirmed that half of the matches from the women's tournament would be streamed live online around the world, including one game featuring every participating nation as well as the semi-finals and final.

"Cricket fans should get set for what I'm sure will be a high action, high energy World Twenty20 with our Australian team every chance of bringing home their first World Twenty20 title," said Nine Entertainment chief executive Hugh Marks. "It's great to add this premium event to Nine's expansive coverage of international cricket, with every Australian game and the finals live and free to all Australians."

Fox Sports chief executive Patrick Delany added: "Today's announcement will ensure Australians get to watch every game of this month's anticipated ICC World Twenty20 live, ad break free and in high definition."

The first round of the men's ICC World T20 begins on Tuesday with Zimbabwe's game against Hong Kong in Nagpur, with the top teams to join in at the Super 10 stage from Tuesday 15th March. The women's tournament also begins on 15th March with India's game against Bangladesh.