- New contract covers bilateral men’s and women’s series played in Australia, plus Big Bash
- Current deal worth AUS$1.2bn
- Seven drops legal proceedings against CA as BBL season is trimmed by 18 matches
Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed a AUS$1.512 billion (US$1.016 billion) extension of its domestic broadcast rights partnership with pay-TV network Foxtel and free-to-air (FTA) broadcaster Seven.
The seven-year deal kicks in from mid-2024 until the end of the 2030/31 summer and covers bilateral men’s and women’s series played in Australia, as well as the Big Bash Twenty20 competitions.
CA’s existing AUS$1.182 billion (US$794 million) six-year pact, signed in 2018, still has one year left to run.
Foxtel and its Kayo streaming service will show every single men’s and women’s international and Big Bash cricket contest, including all men’s limited-overs internationals and ten exclusive Big Bash League (BBL) matches.
Seven, which will also have streaming rights on its 7plus platform, will continue to broadcast all men’s Tests, all women’s international matches, a minimum of 23 Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) matches, and 33 of the 43 BBL matches.
Seven’s BBL quota will also include three BBL finals matches, representing another change away from the current five-team finals structure when the new deal kicks in for the 14th edition of the domestic T20 franchise tournament.
CA added that the decision to reduce the BBL by 18 matches to 43 games will see the competition align better with the school holiday period, with more matches to air in prime time.
Men’s One Day International (ODI) and T20 internationals will continue to be shown on Foxtel and Kayo. Those platforms will also carry ten exclusive BBL matches that will include a ‘Super Saturday’ series.
Seven announced to the stock exchange that it will pay AUS$65 million (US$43.7 million) annually in the new deal, a figure that will rise by two per cent each year of the agreement. That figure does not include contra (free advertising space and promotion). Seven added that the new deal was a 13 per cent reduction on what it pays in cash in the current deal.
Foxtel, which is not publicly listed, declined to reveal what it is paying. However, Seven’s figures suggest Foxtel will pay approximately AUS$144 million (US$96.8 million) each year, made up of cash and contra, out of the total AUS$216 million (US$145 million) annual value of the new contract.
The two broadcasters currently pay AUS$197 million (US$132 million) in cash and contra each year, of which AUS$75 million (US$50.4 million) is cash from Seven.
“The quality and reach of the Foxtel Group and Seven’s cricket production is first class and the outstanding service they provide cricket fans was a strong consideration in our decision to continue with this successful partnership,” said CA chief executive Nick Hockley (pictured above middle).
“This is also an important commercial outcome for all of Australian cricket and one that will ensure we can continue to deliver important community programs, support volunteers and increase participation to keep cricket strong.”
Speaking to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) in September, CA chair Lachlan Henderson, who is stepping down next month, said he was optimistic of landing “a great deal” for the national governing body. Now, CA asserts it has achieved that goal.
The agreement is not only an increase on the current union, albeit a relatively modest one, but also provides CA with additional financial stability for the rest of the decade. Also notable is the announcement that Seven has withdrawn legal proceedings against CA relating to pandemic affected BBL seasons. Last June, the network was looking to ditch its existing contract with the cricket body.
This new deal effectively resets the pair’s relationship, with Seven’s director of sport Lewis Martin denying the broadcaster’s previous actions have “trashed cricket” and saying the company has no plans to publicly talk down the game.
CA’s decision to renew with Foxtel and Seven also sees Paramount, owner of Network Ten and Paramount+, miss out again on premium rights in Australia after it reportedly bid AUS$1.5 billion (US$1 billion). According to The Guardian, CA felt Paramount could not match the reach of its current broadcast partners. That comes after Paramount’s offer for Australian Football League (AFL) rights was rejected in favour of the league renewing with Foxtel, Seven and telecommunications firm Telstra.