Cricket Australia has locked in a status quo TV rights deal with Foxtel, Kayo and Channel 7 — leaving Channel 10 and Paramount Plus out in the cold once again.
News Corp reports the deal will be announced on Tuesday ahead of the New Year’s Test between Australia and South Africa that will wrap up the Test summer at the SCG.
It’s a major win for Foxtel and Kayo in particular to ward off American streaming giant Paramount, who tabled a monster $1.5 billion deal to broadcast all cricket exclusively in conjunction with Channel 10.
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But after lengthy negotiations, Cricket Australia went with its existing model, rejecting Paramount’s offer and settling on a deal reportedly worth slightly more than the previous $1.18 billion rights deal.
The current TV rights deal ends in 2024.
It’s a case of deja vu for Channel 10 and Paramount, who also had their offer to join the AFL’s new broadcast deal rejected last year.
The carrot of $1.5 billion wasn’t enough for to entice Cricket Australia, who are content with the reach of Channel 7, Fox Sports’ dedicated cricket channel and streaming service Kayo.
Channel 10 and Paramount recently acquired the TV rights for the A-League, but complaints around Paramount’s glitchy streaming service and Ten’s dwindling ratings would have no doubt played on CA’s mind.
An update to the new TV rights deal will see Channel 7 get digital rights to stream games on 7Plus in a win for the network.
But Foxtel and Kayo will continue to broadcast white ball (ODI, T20) games exclusively.
Big Bash League and Test cricket will be shared between Seven and Fox, while there are plans for the next BBL season to be shortened in the hope of revitalising the competition.
Fox Cricket’s stable of commentators includes Adam Gilchrist, Mike Hussey, Brett Lee, Isa Guha and Kerry O’Keeffe while Ricky Ponting and former Australian coach Justin Langer are major drawcards behind the microphone for Channel 7.
Cricket’s original free-to-air broadcaster Channel 9 entered negotations late but wasn’t a major threat after pinching the expensive Olympics TV rights from Channel 7 and focusing on its Australian Open tennis coverage.
The new deal also signals a cooling of tensions between Channel 7 and Cricket Australia after the TV network took CA to court last year.
Seven filed a motion in the Federal Court to terminate their $82 million-a-year broadcasting agreement which has two years to run citing “multiple quality and standards breaches.”
Seven wanted a discount on the rights, arguing the quality of the Big Bash in particular had declined in recent years.
It was concluded that Seven should get only a $5 million discount of the $70 million reduction the network had been chasing.