Paramount overlooked for selection as incumbents again Cricket Australia broadcast partners

Seven home of Cricket Australia

Foxtel and Seven West Media get across the line to secure Australia’s major summer sport

News Corp and Seven West Media have successfully renegotiated their existing rights agreement with Australia’s major summer sport to remain Cricket Australia broadcast partners.

While negotiations have been played out behind closed doors, the major media groups kept readers up-to-date about progress of the negotiations.

The official rights payment totals $1.512b (see below), higher than the amount of $1.5b that Paramount was reportedly offering for FTA and subscription rights for its 10 and Paramount+ products. (A figure that Paramount is disputing.)

The fine print on the deal is expected to be similar to the last agreement with Foxtel getting subscription TV rights to all cricket in Australia featuring the Australian men’s and women’s cricket teams and BBL and WBBL. Seven will take Test matches and some of the BBL and WBBL.

Seven will also drop its legal action against Cricket Australia as part of the agreement. Using the recent AFL deal between the football code and its broadcast partners as a template, Seven could get additional BVOD rights. It is not yet clear how Foxtel might be compensated for that loss of exclusivity.

Statement from Cricket Australia

Seven and Foxtel Group to Remain the Home of Australian Cricket

Cricket Australia (CA) has extended its broadcast partnership with the Foxtel Group and Seven West Media for a further seven years in a record media rights deal for Australian Cricket.

Under the agreement, the Foxtel Group (including Fox Sports on Foxtel and streaming service, Kayo Sports), Seven and 7plus will broadcast Australian international Men’s and Women’s matches as well as the WBBL and BBL until 2031.

The new broadcast rights deal, which runs from 2024-2031, is worth $1.512 billion to Australian Cricket.

Under the new deal, the BBL will be reduced from its current schedule of 61 matches to 43, allowing for increased player availability, greater proportion of prime-time matches and stronger alignment with school holidays.

The deal is a 10.5% per year cash uplift on the current six-year deal signed in 2018 and represents a 16% uplift on the previous agreement based on comparative volume of content.

On average, the volume of international fixtures per year is consistent with the existing agreement, with improved scheduling for both the men’s and women’s game against India and England.

Seven has withdrawn its legal proceedings against CA relating to recent seasons affected by the pandemic.

The new deal followed a competitive process involving all the major Australian commercial broadcasting networks.

Other key elements of the new broadcast partnership include:

Every game will be shown live on Fox Cricket through Foxtel and Kayo Sports, including men’s white ball games and 10 exclusive BBL matches.
The Foxtel Group’s exclusive BBL matches will include a Super Saturday series shown on Fox Cricket through Foxtel and Kayo Sports.
Seven will broadcast all men’s Tests and women’s international matches, 23 WBBL matches and 33 of the 43 BBL matches (including three BBL Finals).
All Seven games will also be streamed on 7plus, allowing cricket to increase its reach.
The term of the deal includes two home five-Test men’s series against India (24-25 and 28-29) and two home five-Test men’s Ashes series (25-26 and 29-30).
An improved women’s international program, including home multi-format series against India, England and South Africa in the first three years of the deal. 

Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia CEO said:

“We are delighted to be continuing our broadcast partnership with the Foxtel Group and Seven under an improved deal.

“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.

“The breadth and quality of cricket to be played in Australia over the coming summers is extraordinary and we are looking forward to working with our partners to not only televise the games, but to promote and grow cricket by encouraging more kids to pick up a bat and ball.

“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.

“We sincerely thank all the broadcasters who participated in the process. The strong levels of interest in cricket again emphasised both the enduring value of cricket and the place it holds in the hearts of Australians.”
Foxtel Group Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Delany, said:

“With the cricket rights secured for the next seven years, the Foxtel Group remains the undisputed home of the most popular and premium sports in Australia.

“This extension is great news for our more than 4.6 million subscribers, who will see our world-class talent and production teams at Fox Sports continue bringing the magic like they always have across Foxtel and Kayo Sports.

“The Foxtel Group is the home of cricket in Australia, and we’re proud of the role our investments over more than two decades have played in super charging the growth of the sport from the grassroots through to elite levels.

“Together with 4K on Foxtel and our continued investment in innovation and multi-sport environment on Kayo Sports, we deliver a fan experience like no other and will support the continued growth and promotion of cricket in Australia.

“This renewed partnership with Cricket Australia complements our other multi-year agreements with the International Cricket Council, the IPL and the cricket boards of various countries including New Zealand, England, South Africa and India to show the best of global competitions and matches to fans right around the country.”

cricket rights

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany, Australian cricket captain Pat Cummins and Fox Cricket’s Adam Gilchrist

Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said:

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with Cricket Australia until 2030-31. A comprehensive package of digital rights to the cricket for 7plus will ensure that for the first time, our viewers will be able to access cricket, live and free, in a way that suits them.

“Our combined broadcast and digital rights for both cricket and the AFL means Seven and 7plus will be the home of sport all year round.

“I’d like to thank Cricket Australia Chief Executive Nick Hockley and the Cricket Australia team for their continued efforts to drive cricket and, in particular, the improvements to the BBL. We look forward to working with Cricket Australia to grow Test cricket, women’s internationals and the BBL and WBBL in the years ahead.”

Managing Director Seven Melbourne and Head of Network Sport, Lewis Martin, said:

“This deal is a win for Seven viewers and cricket fans, with the best Test cricket, women’s internationals, BBL and WBBL games guaranteed live and free on Seven and 7plus.

“Our enhanced partnership with Cricket Australia will take Seven’s summer cricket coverage into a new era, reach new audiences across our digital channels, and bring fans all the exciting competition, exceptional entertainment and world-class talent they love.”

At different times during the rights negotiations it seemed both Paramount (for everything) and Nine (for Test matches) were in the box seat.

However, concerns about giving over the entire sport to Paramount and Nine’s recent splurge on Olympic rights, saw those two options overlooked. It is not clear if Nine even ended up making a formal bid.

Paramount finds itself in a difficult catch-22 situation. Major sports seem reluctant to grant Paramount sports rights because it doesn’t have recent history successfully handling a season-long major sport.

Paramount has recent runs on the board with the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup Carnival. It has been some time though since it was last a broadcast partner with the AFL or Cricket Australia.

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