I read about a report from the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday. It is about Cricket Australia offered to transfer Test Matches to Channel Nine. Now Channel 7 will no doubt admire the game. But their problem is against the governing body.
Seven is still unhappy with the close competition between Tests & Big Bash. So does the start of the International men’s leg without Free TV. And they only get the Virat Kohli starclass for the 1st Test. While Fox has his superstar status for all of white ball formats. And the 1st Test before Virat returns to India for his new child.
It is an disadvantage Seven unable to promote. And maintain its value of the Free TV cricket product. This will instead fall without Star names on their end. The same goes with the T20 Big Bash League.
Now Cricket Australia talked to Nine about airing Tests from next month. It is unlikely that a Free TV Network would give up a contract while the season is on. That is news to all of us. It would also give very little timing from Nine to promote them.
So it is not going to happen at least for the rest of 2020-21 summer. It may still be possible for Seven to leave the game altogether. There is an upcoming court hearings going into March. That will help reach a verdict. And see if CA MUST give Seven a discount. Otherwise, Seven will call it stumps if the decision is not good.
Nine does not hate the game of cricket at all. It is part of their blood for over 40 years since 1978. It is a tough one to leave two years ago. But it makes financial sense to swap it for the Australian Open Tennis. And their ratings/product have improved them massively ever since.
They would not mind coming back there again. Nine would be happy to work with Foxtel. And gain the streaming rights on 9Now. It is not new as they have an existing relationship via the NRL. Both leagues are the popular codes here so this relationship can co-exist. The only caveat Nine wants is the price tag.
We also hear from Network 10 linked to airing the Big Bash. They are not out of sports completely. Ten would not mind buying any coverage. But as long as it provides exclusivity. And can see decent return on investment. That is not going to happen anytime soon. Foxtel will always look to hold on these rights firsthand.
It seems that Nine will be the first back-up broadcaster. Should Seven decide to terminate with Cricket Australia. Not immediately but after the season is done.
I am sure that Nine will balance both cricket and tennis in the summer. They can place some less important Tennis via the paid Stan platform. And you can put in the Tests/Big Bash games on Nine. Leave it for the big Tennis matchups via Free TV.
And Seven can look into the NRL if they can get out of the cricket contract. But they have plenty of debt in return. They need to find a way or another before it is too late by 2023. And Seven forced to wait for the rugby league again until 2028.