Seven takes first steps to end $450m cricket deal

Seven has taken the first step towards exiting the remainder of its $450m broadcast deal with Cricket Australia, issuing the sporting body with a legal letter advising of its intention to exit the agreement over an alleged breach of contract.

The $82m a year deal still has four years left to play.

Seven’s ire was initially drawn by its belief that the Big Bash League would suffer because of the possibility of a four-Test series against India which would see the sport’s top players unable to take part in the summer BBL season.

Now Seven is reported to be trying to push Cricket Australia to cut the BBL entirely, alongside other demands which have been dismissed by the sporting body. Seven’s next $33m instalment on the rights is due this week.

Cricket Australia is adamant it will deliver a top season despite the COVID-19 restrictions and changes. It denies Seven will receive a worse product or a product which will fail to deliver its usual revenue.

“Cricket Australia remains in ongoing discussions with the Seven Network about delivering a compelling summer of cricket,” the body said in a statement.

“CA is committed to fulfilling its contractual obligations to all its partners this season.”

Cricket Australia has 14 days from the date the letter was issued to respond or the fight will be taken to arbitration.

Seven’s ultimate goal is to drop the sport entirely, according to industry sources, but should that happen Cricket Australia would be left without a free to air broadcast partner. Reports say Ten was approached earlier in the year regarding the BBL, but the network chose not to enter discussions. Nine chose to let the cricket go in 2018 in favour of the tennis. Others believe the back and forth is part of Seven’s plan to reduce the cost of the rights, as it did with the AFL earlier this year. 

Foxtel appears to be in a better place with its cricket agreement – Fox Sports has signed a new multi-year agreement with the English Cricket Board which will bring English international cricket to Australian fans starting with Australia’s T20 and One Day International Tour of England.


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