Channel Nine are being criticised by cricket fans and players alike after announcing their broadcast arrangements for the upcoming ICC World Cups.
Australia’s defence of the men’s Twenty20 World Cup will be broadcast on the Nine Network but the women’s ODI World Cup is set to be without a free-to-air broadcaster and will, instead, be shown entirely on Foxtel and Kayo.
Kayo has since confirmed it will be screened on Kayo Freebies, meaning viewers will be able to watch the games without a paid subscription.
Nine earlier confirmed it will screen every game involving Aaron Finch’s side at this year’s men’s T20 World Cup, which is being staged in Australia from October 16 to November 13.
The network flagged it will broadcast “other big match-ups”, likely to include a blockbuster between India and Pakistan at the MCG on October 23.
Nine will also show the 2023 men’s one-day World Cup as part of its broadcast deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) that covers major tournaments.
Every match at the two World Cups will be screened on Foxtel and Kayo.
But it appears the women’s ODI World Cup, which begins in March and is being hosted by New Zealand, will only be available to Australian fans via Foxtel and its streaming service Kayo.
Star wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy was quick to respond to the news on Twitter.
Nine had local broadcast rights for the 2020 women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, which culminated in the hosts defeating India in front of a crowd of 86,174 at the MCG on International Women’s Day.
That T20 World Cup final was relegated to 9Gem, while Married At First Sight was screened on Nine’s main channel.
The match attracted a national TV audience of 825,000 on 9Gem, while 406,000 tuned in via Foxtel.
Sarah Styles, the director of Victoria’s Office for Women in Sport and Recreation, also took to Twitter to express her frustration.
“Absolutely and utterly the wrong call by Channel 9 as broadcast partner for ICC’s events,” she said.
“Decisions like this by Channel 9 don’t stack up against reason. #1 ranked team, independently shown to be one of Australia’s favourite teams, backed by some of Australia’s largest advertisers like CommBank and Cadbury, out-rates the majority of sport content.”
Nine’s long-term arrangement with Cricket Australia ended in 2018, when Foxtel and the Seven Network shelled out a combined $1.182 billion as part of a six-year broadcast deal.
However, broadcast rights for ICC events fall under a different umbrella. abc