The Seven Network and Fox Sports have bagged the broadcast rights for Australian home cricket for the next six years, signing a deal worth AUD 1.182 billion with Cricket Australia.
The deal represents a significant jump in revenue for CA, with the previous five-year deal with Channel Nine (international cricket) and Ten (Big Bash League) having been worth around AUD 600 million in total. The size of the new deal allays any fears that Australian cricket may have become a less attractive commodity in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal that broke during the recent tour of South Africa.
Free-to-air Seven will partner with Fox to simulcast all men's Test matches and women's internationals, 43 BBL games and 23 WBBL games each season. This is the first time all of Australia women's matches are guaranteed a free-to-air broadcast.
"What we are particularly proud of in this partnership is the focus on extending our broadcast coverage of women's matches," CA chief executive James Sutherland said. "Our partners are key to inspiring more women and girls to pick up a bat and ball. If more elite content is accessible to fans be it on TV or through their mobile devices, we're helping tap into new audiences to attract them to the sport."
Men's home limited-overs internationals, however, will move behind a paywall for the first time, with Fox Sports set to exclusively showcase men's ODIs and T20Is, as well as the remaining 16 BBL matches.
The deal also involves a digital partnership between Fox Sports and Cricket Network, which will offer streaming of matches not shown on Fox Sports or Seven, as well as on-demand highlights of all Australian cricket.
The new deal ends Channel Nine's four-decade-long association with Australia's home summer.
"Our thanks go to Channel Nine, who for more than 40 years has broadcast international cricket at a world-renowned standard - and in so doing has done more to promote our sport than any organisation in Australian cricket history," Sutherland said.
"Our sincere thanks also to Network Ten for their role in taking the Big Bash League to a new level, and for so willingly providing a platform to launch and grow the Women's Big Bash League. As a startup League, the BBL is a phenomenal success story. Over the last five years Ten has made an extraordinary contribution to the league and its growth in bringing new fans to cricket.
"We have nothing but gratitude and respect for Nine and Ten - and sincerely thank them for their contribution to our sport. We're very excited about what the future holds with both Fox Sports and Seven West Media."