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News

CA secure $1.512 billion seven-year rights deal with Seven and Foxtel with BBL to be reduced

BBL reduced to a 43-game season while Australia men's home ODI and T20Is remain behind a paywall until 2031

Test cricket and the Big Bash are the two major products for Channel Seven

CA have extended their partnership with Seven and Foxtel to broadcast cricket in Australia until 2031  •  Getty Images

The BBL will be reduced to a 43-game season under a new $AUS1.512 billion broadcast deal Cricket Australia has secured with existing partners Channel Seven and Foxtel, on a new seven-year term.
As part of the deal, confirmed on Tuesday, Seven will end their legal battle which they brought over a perceived lack of quality in the BBL over the last couple of seasons.
"There's no doubt our relationship has been tested and there's nothing left unsaid I can assure you," Seven's head of network sport, Lewis Martin, said. "We've had our issues with Cricket Australia and we've reset. They were challenging times, no doubt about it. One of the key things that kept us constant was that we were united in both the love and for the ambition to grow the game. That was critical and that's why we are all standing here today.''
Confirmation of the new broadcast package is a significant milestone for the board, including chief executive Nick Hockley and outgoing chair Lachlan Henderson, in terms of securing a solid financial footing for the game in Australia.
The reduction in the BBL from its current 61-game season will cut the length of the tournament with the aim of having it completed within the school holidays and it is hoped will improve availability of Australian and overseas players.
"We've been listening to the fans, listening to the players, we are seeing it this season with the BBL, it's primetime nights in the heart of the summer holidays and what this allows us to do is tighten things up," Nick Hockley, the CA CEO said. "It allows us to get the best players in, it sits really nicely next to our new future tours programme."
All Australia home men's Test matches and Australia women's internationals between 2024 and 2031 will be broadcast on Seven and Foxtel as has been the case since 2018. Foxtel's streaming partner Kayo Sports and Seven's streaming platform 7plus will also carry all of those matches.
Significantly, the white-ball internationals of Australia's men's team will remain behind a paywall on Foxtel and Kayo and with Tests the majority of the BBL being available free-to-air on Seven and 7plus.
All 43 matches of the new streamlined BBL and WBBL will be broadcast on Foxtel and Kayo, which includes 10 home and away matches for each team plus three finals. Foxtel will carry 10 of those games exclusively behind their paywall and intend to show them on a Super Saturday series. Seven will broadcast 33 of the 43 BBL matches each year including finals and 23 of the WBBL matches including finals.
"We are delighted to be continuing our broadcast partnership with the Foxtel Group and Seven under an improved deal," Hockley said. "The quality and reach of the Foxtel Group and Seven's cricket production is first class and the outstanding service they provide cricket fans was a strong consideration in our decision to continue with this successful partnership."
The bidding process had also attracted interest from US company Paramount, which owns Channel 10, and former cricket broadcaster Nine.
Paramount's streaming service Paramount Plus rolled out to Australia in August 2021 and is already in the local sporting market as broadcaster of the A-Leagues and Australian soccer internationals.
But it is understood CA felt neither Paramount Plus nor its struggling free-to-air affiliate Network 10 could match the reach of the current broadcast hosts.
Foxtel has a base of 4.6 million subscribers, nearly 1.3 million of whom are signed up to streaming platform Kayo, while Seven's Test coverage has continued to rate among the highest programs on free-to-air television this summer.
Paramount Plus has yet to disclose its own figures but August estimates from market research specialist Roy Morgan placed the platform's local subscriber base at around 400,000.
CA's decision to overlook Paramount comes after the AFL opted to reject the American company's advances last year, despite it being the highest bidder.