Foxtel and Seven win cricket rights in deal which reshapes Australia’s broadcasting landscape

The biggest shift in broadcasting rights in the history of the Australian television industry will see cricket move from Nine and Ten to Foxtel and Seven in a deal worth close to $1bn over six years.

The announcement – which was made to the ASX just after 10am – follows weeks of negotiations between Cricket Australia and Australia’s broadcasters.

In a statement to the ASX, Seven said a deal had been agreed but not yet signed.


Today’s ASX announcement

With Foxtel and Seven as the new home of cricket, Nine will no longer broadcast Test cricket home matches, while Ten will lose its rights to the short form Big Bash League.

The deal completes a major reshaping of the sporting rights landscape after Nine snatched the tennis rights from Seven in a $300m deal. However, Nine still has the rights to the Australian team’s next Ashes tour in England.

The $1bn, six-year deal sees Nine lose its right to Australia’s home international cricket, while Ten will lose its Big Bash League cricket. 

While details are expected to emerge shortly, it is understood that Foxtel will pick up the biggest part of the bill, while Seven will pay a little under $80m a year, with much of the content a simulcast between the two broadcasters. Mumbrella understands that the digital rights have been picked up by Foxtel.

Along with rights to tennis shifting in the other direction from Seven to Nine, the moves mark the biggest shift in sports rights in the history of the Australian TV industry.

While the cost to Seven West Media is more than the $60m per year Nine will pay for the tennis, Seven will be able to argue that the cricket will provide a full summer of sporting content, rather than the fortnight that the Australian Open provides. Seven will also seek to monetise the fact that it has rights to air all forms of game.

However, Nine will not yet exit cricket coverage entirely. It already has the rights to Australia’s next trip to the UK for the Ashes.

A Nine spokesperson told Mumbrella: “Nine is immensely proud of our decades long association between Wide World of Sports and the game of cricket in this country. We wish Cricket Australia and its new broadcast partners well for the future success of the game.

“Cricket will continue to be a part of Nine’s schedule into the future with current deals in place covering the next Ashes series from England in 2019, the ODI World Cup in the UK in the same year and in 2020 the T20 World Cups to be held in Australia.

“But most of all Nine is excited by our new partnership with Tennis Australia. A partnership that enables us to further evolve our business model into a new future.  A partnership built on common values and vision to mutually build the game and Nine’s business as we connect with more audiences the way they choose.

“Our focus remains on the cross platform opportunities in front of us and finding the best ways to continue to create value for our shareholders in to the future.”

And Ten issued a statement from CEO Paul Anderson saying: We are disappointed that our bid for the cricket television rights was rejected.

“Network Ten turned the Big Bash League into the television phenomenon it is today and one of the most popular sports in Australia, a sport that all Australians were able enjoy for free. We had planned to extend that innovation to other forms of the game.

“Network Ten and our BBL team led by David Barham revolutionised the way cricket is broadcast in Australia and attracted new, younger viewers to the game. At the same time, we invested heavily in the Women’s Big Bash League, broadcasting matches in prime time for the first time and raising its profile significantly. We are proud of everything we achieved with the BBL and WBBL.”

The initial reaction to the deal was positive from Seven shareholders, with the company’s share price rising 7% in the first few minutes of trading.


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