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Ten’s Credit Crisis Could Cost Network Big Bash League

Following the news that Australian TV network Ten will be placed into voluntary administration, questions are already being asked about what effect this could have on the distribution of Cricket Australia broadcast rights.

While Ten’s track record has been spotty in recent years, with the company recording a loss of $232.19 million for the recent half year period, the company’s move to secure broadcast rights for Big Bash League from Cricket Australia in 2013 proved a huge hit for them.

The 2015–16 season attracted an average audience of 1.13 million for each match in Australia and a cumulative reach of over  9.65 million.

However, with Ten’s future looking grim, questions are now being raised as to whether the network can hold onto those rights when the contract expires next year.

Some have speculated already that the asking price for the rights could so much as triple the $100 million Ten paid for their five-year contract in 2013.

Sports media strategist Colin Smith told the AAP that “It wouldn’t surprise me if they either delay the rights or have some other party underwrite it.”

According to him, Ten is an unfavorable position where it’s debts mean it can’t do without the ratings that come with the Big Bash League but will likely struggle to mount a successful bid against the rival Nine Network (said to be eyeing the BBL rights) without a “big brother” capable of fronting the cost.

“I can’t see how Cricket Australia could do a deal with Network Ten under the current circumstances,” he said.

This situation is unlikely to be helped by internal pressure that Cricket Australia is facing from players over the BBL league’s payment structure.