Foxtel targets control of Cricket Australia rights

Pay-television operator Foxtel has made a sizeable offer for complete broadcast and digital rights to Cricket Australia properties, according to multiple reports.

CA, the sport’s governing body in the country, is currently marketing the rights and is said to be seeking a total of at least A$850m (€528m/$657m) from its next five-year rights cycle, from 2018 to 2022.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, citing sources close to the talks, said Foxtel has made an offer to broadcast all home Test matches, One-Day Internationals and T20 games on Fox Sports.

Under the Foxtel proposal, free-to-air broadcasters would be granted the option to broadcast Test matches in a simulcast arrangement. However, Foxtel is said to be keen to retain exclusive rights to all T20 matches and the majority of ODI games.

Foxtel is understood to have made an offer in the range of A$160m to A$170m per year to Cricket Australia. However, the Herald notes that the proposal is likely to come under the microscope of regulators with Test and ODI matches currently on Australia’s anti-siphoning list of events reserved for free-to-air television. ODI games could be shown exclusively on pay-television if no free-to-air network makes a bid for the games and CA agrees to the offer.

A Cricket Australia spokesman said the body was “currently undergoing a confidential process, and when we have finalised our rights, we will look to make an announcement on this”.

CA last month requested a second round of bids for its domestic broadcast rights.