Future BBL seasons will have their seasons reduced by several games after Cricket Australia struck a new $1.4 billion TV rights deal with Channel 7 and Foxtel on Tuesday. The new agreement puts an end to speculation that cricket could be broadcast on a different free-to-air network, with few other major changes expected as part of the new agreement.
BBL teams will play 10 matches each regular season from the 2024-2025 summer, down from 14 this season. The season overall will be reduced by a total of 20 matches.
Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said the decision to shorten the season had come in the wake of feedback from players and teams, and would allow the BBL to fit in easier with the Australian Test summer. As a result of the new deal being struck, Channel 7 has dropped court action against CA after accusing the governing body of failing to deliver on expectations for the popular T20 series.
Exclusive rights for one-day cricket were retained by Foxtel under the new agreement. Channel 7 will be permitted to broadcast their games not only on free-to-air, but also on their live streaming service, 7Plus.
"We are delighted to be continuing our broadcast partnership with the Foxtel Group and Seven under an improved deal," Cricket Australia CEO Nick 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 deal will include Foxtel having rights to a Super Saturday series of the Big Bash League, while Seven will show 33 of the BBL fixtures. The deal represents a 10.5 per cent cash uplift on the previous six-year contract, and comes after CA knocked back interest from Network 10 and Paramount.
New cricket rights deal ends Channel 7, Cricket Australia stoush
Fox has a base of 4.4 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 on that occasion as well.
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley on the benefits of a shortened BBL 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/ZrnqHu6nb1
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) January 2, 2023
The new deal signals a burying of the hatchet for Cricket Australia and Seven after the network took CA to the Federal Court seeking to terminate the last two years of its current six-year contract over alleged breaches.
Seven had been seeking documents to determine whether CA had exercised "reasonable endeavours" to ensure the BBL matched the quality of rival leagues including the Indian Premier League but were understood to have been willing to drop the case if the current deals were extended. The home Test summer concludes this week with the third Test against South Africa, which begins at the SCG on Wednesday.
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