Fox Sports and Seven land Cricket Australia rights

Pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports and commercial broadcaster Seven have today (Friday) sealed a domestic rights deal with Cricket Australia in an agreement that takes limited-over internationals behind the paywall for the first time and ends commercial broadcaster Nine’s long-running association with the rights.

The new six-season broadcast and digital partnership, which includes a dedicated Fox Cricket channel and runs from 2018-19 to 2023-24, will result in an overall benefit to the sport worth A$1.182bn (€734m/$913m).

Men’s international cricket will take a new shape, with Seven and Fox Sports broadcasting all Test matches throughout the summer. Fox Sports will exclusively broadcast men’s one-day and T20 Internationals.

Women’s cricket has also been placed at the forefront of the partnership with all international matches and 23 games from the domestic Women’s Big Bash League T20 tournament to be broadcast each season on Seven and Fox Sports. CA will live stream the remaining WBBL matches on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App.

Seven will broadcast 43 men’s Big Bash League matches, in what will turn the league into a full home and away season, while Fox Sports will broadcast 16 matches exclusively, and simulcast the remainder.

Additionally, Fox Sports will broadcast 13 domestic One-Day Cup matches and the Sheffield Shield Final, along with some tour matches.

There will also be a new digital partnership between Fox Sports and CA’s digital arm, Cricket Network. This partnership will bring more content than ever to Cricket Australia Live App and cricket.com.au users.

Cricket Australia will continue to deliver broadcast-quality streaming of matches not broadcast by the two networks including international tour matches, non-broadcast One-Day Cup and Sheffield Shield matches, all available through cricket.com.au and the CA Live Pass. Fans will also still be able to access highlights through cricket.com.au and Cricket Australia Live.

The agreements announced today end Nine’s four decades of association with home cricket in Australia and also mark a significant increase in the value of the rights.

Nine had held the rights to Tests and ODIs, and has broadcast summer Tests for about 40 years. Fellow commercial broadcaster Ten had held rights to the BBL, with the previous rights deal worth A$590m over five seasons.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said: “It’s fair to say that the interest in our rights during this process has been unprecedented. We’re very excited about what the future holds with both Fox Sports and the Seven West Media.

“This sets the game up to be in even stronger shape, as we are on track to exceed 1.5 million participants this season. This revolutionary deal will enable increased investment in grassroots cricket through our programs and further developing facilities, expanding new participation formats to grow junior cricket, supporting clubs and associations to grow the game for women and girls and more investment in the talent pathway to develop Australia’s next generation of cricketers.

“What we are particularly proud of in this partnership is the focus on extending our broadcast coverage of women’s matches. 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.”