WAtoday (Australia) – The good news for cricket fans is they will enjoy a fresh, innovative broadcast of the summer game; the bad news is they will have to pay for it.
- Cricket Australia’s six-year deal with Foxtel/Channel Seven means the Rupert Murdoch-owned pay-TV network possesses the headline content, although Test matches will be simulcast on the free-to-air network, which will also show the bulk of Big Bash League games.
- The FTA network has therefore achieved its twin aims of acquiring a replacement sport for its summer broadcast schedule and not over-spending, while Foxtel has made a major investment in content to complement its winter offerings of NRL and AFL.
- Cricket Australia will still retain control of its own website and offer apps, but the rights to transmit live sport broadcasts via the internet will be held by Foxtel.
- Cricket Australia has fallen marginally short of its objective of doubling its previous broadcast deal of $100m a year but will be relieved it has survived the Cape Town controversy and the switch to tennis by long-term incumbent broadcaster, Nine, with a deal that covers its commitment to players.
- Cricket Australia’s challenge will be supplying a winning product for Foxtel to present in an attractive manner to a fan willing to pay for something which has been free for decades.