Cricket Ping Pong The New Game To Follow
Last week, it was Foxtel who lobbed in a massive bid for Cricket TV rights only to pull out hours later, then Nine Entertainment and Network Ten reignited their bid with a $900 million-dollar deal over six years.
The new bid worth around $150 million annually, or $900 million over the six years of the deal then saw News Corporation who part own Foxtel and Fox Sport, return to the bidding ring.
If the Nine/Ten deal gets over the line they will retain the rights to the Big Bash League while Nine would keep the Test matches.
But international Twenty20 and 50 over matches would switch from Nine to Ten under the new offer claims the Finanancial Review.
Cricket Australia Chairman David Peever who has been described as “incompetent” following the recent ball tampering saga and his ability to right emails that offended Channel Ten owner CBS executive Armando Nuñez claiming he was a “bottom feeder” for lobbing in a low bid.
The Financial Review wrote in today’s Rear Window, ‘one key insider has observed that “Peever is the prototypical Rio purchasing clerk and still acts like one”.
Sources said Cricket Australia has not engaged in a meaningful way with Nine and Ten at this stage despite the improved offer, which was made on Thursday. However, they noted things could ramp up this week and a deal could be done quickly.
“Any negotiations with CA are confidential but we have always said we are committed to continuing our partnership with Cricket Australia, which may include cricket beyond the highly successful Big Bash League,” a Ten spokesman said.
Nine and Cricket Australia declined to comment.
A News Corp spokeswoman confirmed “Fox Sports withdrew from negotiations with Cricket Australia on Friday morning due to a lack of material progress over the preceding week,” she said.
“Fox Sports has continued discussions with Cricket Australia over the weekend, however there has been no reengagement of negotiations.”
Sources said Fox Sports remains keen to be involved in cricket. Sources said Nine, in particular, is at its limit, growing frustrated and its interest in cricket waning.
There was concern and frustration among free-to-air broadcasters that Cricket Australia was close to wrapping up a subscription TV deal without them being brought into the fold.
There has been speculation Seven who recently lost the Tennis to Nine, has been working with Cricket Australia and Foxtel – the pay TV provider would need a free-to-air partner under anti-siphoning rules – but chief executive of the Kerry Stokes-controlled broadcaster, Tim Worner, has publically said continual inflation in sports rights is not sustainable.
Seven is understood to be keen on securing some cricket after losing its tennis broadcast rights to Nine, but not at any price.
It is believed Foxtel’s bid would have seen the free-to-air component become a simulcast arrangement and the pay TV provider would keep digital rights as it explores potential over-the-top streaming services, known as Project Martian, in a attempt to boost its 30 per cent population penetration.