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Nine: T20 World Cup rights contract has been ‘frustrated’

Hugh Marks, the chief executive of Australian commercial broadcaster Nine, has suggested that its rights deal for cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup is no longer valid following the recent postponement of the competition.

Australia had been due to host this year’s edition of the men’s T20 World Cup in October and November but earlier this month it was announced that the country would stage the event in 2022 instead amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Australia’s event had initially been delayed by 12 months but the ICC later decided that India would host the tournament as planned in 2021, with Australia to host in 2022.

Nine had been due to show free-to-air coverage of the World Cup in Australia but the two-year postponement of the tournament has led to the disbandment of its organising committee and Marks believes the rescheduling calls into question whether Nine’s rights deal is still valid.

Quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper: “Our view is that the contract has been frustrated.

“We had a contract for an event held in October-November this year. That is not happening. That event has been cancelled and our contract has been frustrated.

“So we will talk to all relevant parties about those rights when they become available again but at this point there is [sic] no concrete details, so for the moment we are out.”

Back in February, Marks pinpointed the removal of one-off sports coverage such as The Ashes and the Cricket World Cup to cut down on costs.

Nine holds rights to ICC events in Australia, including the Cricket World Cup, from 2020 to 2023, and Marks said in February that the broadcaster would be targeting a reduction of up to A$100m (€61.3m/$72.5m) in annualised costs over the next three years.

Marks was speaking earlier today (Thursday) following the publishing of Nine’s full-year financial results. Nine’s revenue dipped by seven per cent to A$2.1bn amid a significant decrease in advertising spend due to Covid-19.