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Report: Foxtel in hefty bid for Cricket rights

Updated: Foxtel takes offer off the table, and denies a media report.

Foxtel has reportedly made an aggressive bid for Cricket rights that would see it show all the Test matches, one-day internationals and Twenty20 games.

Fairfax is reporting the proposal would see free-to-air television networks given the option to broadcast test matches in simulcast, but under the condition that a good portion of Twenty20 and one-day games would be kept for Pay TV alone.

Foxtel is believed to have made an offer in the range of $800m – $850m, above the estimated $600m which free to air networks have offered. Whilst the move might impact the sport’s visibility, ticket sales and sponsorships, Cricket Australia may accept a lower bid to keep the game high profile.

With some exceptions, Twenty20 and one-day matches played in Australia with a senior Australian representative team are on the anti-siphoning list.

The deal represents a first challenge for newly-installed CEO Patrick Delany, who has had major coups heading up FOX Sports.

But Seven is also in the game for Cricket rights after losing the Australian Open to Nine, which in turn has not ruled out bidding for a sport with a 40 year network history. TEN also hopes to retain the Big Bash League it has built up into a formidable brand.

Against the backdrop of the ball-tampering scandal, there’s more plot turns than a soggy melodrama on Arena.

Updated via The Australian: Cricket Australia’s high-stakes talks with television networks over a new multi-million-dollar media rights deal hit a roadblock last night as Foxtel took its offer off the table after a breakdown in talks on Thursday.

Patrick Delany, chief executive of Foxtel, rejected a Fairfax Media report claiming the pay-TV operator bid $160 million-$170m a year to net Cricket Australia’s media rights. “The report is not true,” he said. It is understood the offer was significantly below the range in the report.

21 Responses

  1. Perhaps it’s time that at least one FTA channel puts all the bickering about broadcast rights aside for a moment and actually create a dedicated sports channel including from time to time some optional sub channels to broadcast only major sports, when this actually happens the real value of having a World sporting event to broadcast on FTA can be fulfilled and not the selective content that is mostly presented now. This is a big money proposition which demonstrates if nothing else will that Fox Sports have earned their TV rights preference deals.

      1. Channel One was mostly popular for car racing but failed to back it up by showing mostly sports with a low budget price tag or little viewer attraction. Foxtel’s bigger budget is a gamble for FTA and that’s the real issue when prime time advertising revenue has to pay for it. Channel 7 also had C7 Sport on Optus Vision until the plug was pulled in favour of selling Foxtel.

        1. You have to start somewhere. People forget that Fox Sports started with ordinary sports too, if given time and if executed properly One HD would have worked out, but it was only given 2 years thats all. Had TEn acquired the Rugby Union, League it would have balanced out ok with Netball and AFL in winter. TEN had the rights to Hopman cup they could have built on that, and would have gotten the BBL probably for larger than 20 mill. So i am not as pessimistic about the viability of a FTA sports channel.

  2. Optus Sport via Fetch TV has access to the Cricket Australia app over the summer months. Where lots of cricket are either live streamed, or you’re able to watch highlights. I wonder what will become of this channel, if Foxtel gets access to the CA product?

    1. It will shift. my educated guess is that FOX Sports will pick up the domestic rights to both Shefield Sheild, One day tournament and BBL as well as the back catelogue. Optus (Optus Sport) is more interested in expanding its content in Football internations where it gets exclusivity and they may do a deal with SBS again.

  3. All (except UK Ashes) international cricket is exclusive to pay-TV – don’t give Foxtel any more. We already had the ludicrous situation in February when the semi-final and final of the England-NZ-Australia 20-20 series was not shown on free-to-air since they were played in NZ, when all the other matches involving Australia were shown on free-to-air.
    We don’t allow retailers to have a monopoly on a particular product, why do we allow broadcasters?

    1. There was no semi final. It was six round robin games (each team played the other teams twice) and a final. Nothing prevented Nine for bidding for those rights. I guess Foxtel put in a better offer than Nine.

  4. I think Foxtel are up to something here. Me Delaney stated that he is looking at changing the model of Foxtel. One thought is that if they did get the cricket they could sell an event pass (like a main event but over multiple days). Eg. the Boxing Day test could be $5 for the 5 days or if they start a cricket channel you could just purchase that on a monthly basis. Or lower the sports package price and offer as a stand alone pack and maybe get some more advertisers as a pay off but do the commercial free (just onscreen ads).

    1. I think you are over analysing this. Foxtel have made it pretty clear they want the cricket because they really don’t have much Australian sports to offer once the AFL and NRL seasons are over. I would be very surprised if they charged more than the regular Fox Sports price for cricket, considering they don’t do this for AFL or NRL.

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