Trouble brewing for Cricket Australia; $450 mn broadcast deal under threat

Fund-starved Cricket Australia is faced with the threat to lose its $ 450 million rights deal with the Seven West Media. The broadcaster, terming Cricket Australia as “the most incompetent administration” has threatened to terminate the contract.

The brewing feud can lead Cricket Australia and Seven West Media to the court. Broadcasters are reportedly upset over scheduling the Big Bash League alongside the international series with India, New Zealand and Afghanistan. With the international competitions running parallel to the Big Bash competition, the elite domestic talent will not be available for CA’s professional league.

The dispute has flared up after the CA had reportedly denied its broadcasters any discount. Seven chief executive James Warburton, while expressing frustration at the delay in delivery of domestic and international schedule, has said that “this (CA’s proposed domestic and international calendar) is not an acceptable product and we will not support the season. Cricket Australia have an obligation to deliver a competition of no lesser standard than the past.

“The quality obligations are paramount,” Sydney Morning Herald has reported Warburton as saying during the call with the shareholders. “Should that not be delivered we are forced to consider all our options including terminating the contract and we have put them on notice accordingly.”

“How stupid to schedule International Cricket against the BBL and drain the resources of competition already under pressure.”

The BBL will be played for over two months from the December 3 start date. There will be a direct conflict of schedule with the four-Test Border-Gavaskar series, to be played from December 3 to January 7 and followed by three One Day Internationals on January 12, 15 and 17.

“How stupid to schedule International Cricket against the BBL and drain the resources of competition already under pressure,” Warburton reportedly said.

CA in its response has been polite but firm. “Cricket Australia greatly values the relationship with our broadcast partners. While disappointed by comments made in the media today, CA remains committed to delivering a full and compelling summer of cricket,” read a Cricket Australia statement issued today (Friday) in response to Warburton’s scathing attack.

“With the Australian men’s team having already landed safely in England for their return to international cricket, we want to reassure fans here in Australia and around the world that we are well advanced in delivering our home summer of cricket.

“We continue to navigate our way through the challenges presented by COVID-19 with the support of all our partners, including governments, sponsors, biosecurity experts, state and territories Associations and the Australian Cricketers’ Association.”

Seven has signed a six-year, A$ 450 million deal with CA in 2018. The contract is to run through to the 2022 season.

Admin Sportz Front

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