AAP and ESPNcricinfo staff
The Women's ODI World Cup will be removed from a paywall after Alyssa Healy labelled the Nine Network's failure to pick up the event as a "slap in the face".
Healy and fellow players were left annoyed on Sunday morning when it was confirmed that Nine had purchased simulcast rights from Fox to broadcast the next two men's World Cups. However missing from the release was March's Women's ODI World Cup in New Zealand. That prompted Healy to offer up 20 vouchers to steaming platform Kayo for followers on social media.
Foxtel have since confirmed to AAP they made the call on Sunday to make it part of their "freebies pack", meaning viewers will be able to watch it on Kayo without a subscription.
The move will please both cricket fans and players, after both Healy and Rachael Haynes criticised the move.
"It's a little bit of a slap in the face to say that we're not commercially viable," Healy said. "That someone doesn't want to stick their hand up and say, 'we're going to put this on the telly so that everyone can watch it'. It's a little bit hard to take in that regard.
"Not having it on free-to-air excludes a fair chunk of our population who don't want to pay or can't afford to pay for subscription TV."
Under the broadcast structure, Foxtel purchases the rights to all ICC tournaments from the ICC's global partner Star Sports.
Fox can then on-sell the rights to free-to-air broadcasters, which is how Nine picked up the rights to this year's Men's T20 World Cup and next year's ODI World Cup.
Nine also simulcast the 2020 Women's T20 World Cup in Australia, attracting 825,000 viewers for the final as well as criticism for placing it on secondary channel 9GEM while Married At First Sight was on the main channel.
"I think people get obsessed with bums on seats and numbers at the ground," Healy said. "But the reality of modern day sport at the minute is that's not realistic for people to get there and watch the games live.
"So for us it's probably more relevant the TV audiences that we're getting and even just looking the other night I think the first T20 here in Adelaide actually got really good number of of people watching the game considering we were fighting Nick Kyrgios for TV time."
AAP sought comment from Nine on Sunday if they had been offered the rights to broadcast the Women's World Cup, but did not receive a direct answer.
"Nine's sub license agreement with Foxtel only includes rights to the Men's T20 World Cup," a Channel Nine spokesperson said in reply.
The removal of the paywall subsequently came at the same time Haynes called for change.
"It sends a really powerful message to see our female athletes have an opportunity to share in the spotlight," Haynes said. "The visibility is extremely important. I am disappointed it's not on free-to-air TV in Australia."
Meanwhile Nine confirmed it will screen every game involving Aaron Finch's side at this year's men's T20 World Cup, which is being staged in Australia from October 16 to November 13.
The network has flagged it will broadcast "other big match-ups", likely to include a blockbuster between India and Pakistan at the MCG on October 23. Every match at the two World Cups will be screened on Foxtel and Kayo.
Last year's Men's T20 World Cup, where Australia won the title for the first time, was not available on free-to-air in the country because when the initial broadcast deal was signed it was due to be a Champions Trophy event.