Channel Nine Lose Cricket Telecast Rights After Forty Years
The Seven Network and Foxtel have won the bidding war for cricket's TV rights, ending the four-decade relationship between cricket and the Nine Network.
Seven West Media confirmed on Friday that it and Foxtel had won the rights, with contracts still being finalised and not yet signed.
"In response to media speculation concerning cricket rights, Seven West Media Limited advises that it has been informed by Cricket Australia that it is the successful bidder with Foxtel," the network said in a statement.
"A full announcement will be made on signing this afternoon."
Nine said it is "immensely proud" of its long association with the sport but that it wishes Cricket Australia (CA) and its new broadcast partners well, while CBS-owned Ten said it is disappointed that its bid had been rejected.
Under the deal, which is rumoured to be worth $1 billion, it's expected pay TV provider Fox Sports will have exclusive rights to some Big Bash League matches while simulcasting Tests and limited overs matches.
Nine's loss of cricket comes after it won Australian tennis broadcasting rights in a $300 million coup, ending Seven's four-decade hold on televising the Australian Open.
Under the five-year tennis agreement, Nine has the live rights - including free-to-air, subscription television, streaming, mobile and social media - and catch-up service rights to the Australian Open as well as the lead up tournaments around Australia.
The network said cricket will continue to be part of its schedule with current deals in place covering the next ashes series from England in 2019, the ODI World Cup in the UK in the same year and the T20 World Cups to be held in Australia in 2020.
"Our focus remains on the cross platform opportunities in front of us and finding the best ways to continue to create value for our shareholders in the future," Nine said on Friday.
Ten, which entered a joint bid for the cricket rights with Nine a fortnight ago, said it is proud of everything it has achieved with the Big Bash League and the Women's Big Bash League.
"Network Ten turned the Big Bash League into the television phenomenon it is today and one of the most popular sports in Australia, a sport that all Australians were able enjoy for free," the CBS-backed broadcaster said in a statement.
"We had planned to extend that innovation to other forms of the game."