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Cricket Australia sticks with Seven and Fox Sports in new broadcast rights deal

Cricket Australia has shunned international interest and agreed to a multi-million-dollar contract extension with current broadcasters, the Seven Network and Fox Sports.

As part of the reported deal, the home Test summer and selected Big Bash League matches will remain on Seven, while subscription broadcaster Fox is set to continue showing Tests and the BBL as well as white-ball internationals and other domestic competitions.

News Corp reports the new contract spans five years and will begin when the current deal expires in 2024.

American media giant, Paramount, which owns Network Ten, had been the primary suitor hoping to plunder the cricket and made a reported $1.5bn offer to Cricket Australia that was more lucrative than those tabled by the Australian networks.

Paramount’s streaming service, Paramount Plus, rolled out to Australia in August 2021 and is already in the local sporting market as broadcaster of the A-Leagues and Australian football internationals.

But it is understood CA felt neither Paramount Plus, nor its struggling free-to-air affiliate Network Ten, could match the reach of the current broadcast hosts.

Fox has a base of 4.4 million subscribers, nearly 1.3 million of whom are signed up to streaming platform Kayo, while Seven’s Test coverage has continued to rate among the highest programs on free-to-air television this summer.

Paramount Plus has yet to disclose its own figures but August estimates from market research specialist Roy Morgan placed the platform’s local subscriber base at around 400,000.

CA’s decision to overlook Paramount comes after the AFL opted to reject the American company’s advances last year, despite it being the highest bidder on that occasion as well.

The new deal signals a burying of the hatchet for CA and Seven after the network took CA to the Federal Court seeking to terminate the last two years of its current six-year contract over alleged breaches.

Seven had been seeking documents to determine whether CA had exercised “reasonable endeavours” to ensure the BBL matched the quality of rival leagues including the Indian Premier League, but were understood to have been willing to drop the case if the current deals were extended.

The home Test summer concludes this week with the third Test against South Africa, which begins at the SCG on Wednesday. The Guardian

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