New $1.5 billion broadcast deal confirmed for CA

The BBL season will be trimmed from BBL|14 while CA increases the value of a broadcast agreement that sees the Foxtel-Seven alliance extend until 2031

The BBL season will be shortened by 18 matches as Cricket Australia today confirmed a $1.5 billion extension of its domestic broadcast rights partnership with the Foxtel Group and Seven West Media.

The seven-year deal worth $1.512 billion formally begins in 2024, with a year still to run on the current six-year deal signed in 2018, and will see cricket remain on Fox and Seven until the end of the 2030-31 summer.

Seven – which will also have streaming rights on its free 7plus platform when the new deal begins – will continue to broadcast all men's Tests, all women's international matches, a minimum of 23 WBBL matches, and 33 of the 43 BBL matches.

Seven's BBL quota will include three BBL finals matches, representing another change away from the current five-team finals structure when the new deal kicks in from BBL|14 onwards.

Men's ODI and T20 internationals will continue to be shown on Foxtel and Kayo Sports, while those platforms will also carry 10 exclusive BBL matches that will include a 'Super Saturday' series.

Key points of the new broadcast deal

• Foxtel Group and Seven West Media secure a seven-year deal worth $1.512 billion

• KFC BBL will be reduced by 18 matches to 43 games from BBL|14

• The deal covers bilateral men's and women's series played in Australia, as well as the Big Bash competitions

• Foxtel and Kayo to show every game from men's and women's international and Big Bash cricket, including all men's limited-overs internationals and 10 exclusive BBL matches

• Seven and 7plus to show all men's Tests, all women's international matches, a minimum of 23 WBBL matches, and 33 of the 43 BBL matches (including three BBL Finals)

• to remain the home of free highlights for all cricket

• New deal starts in mid-2024, and will run until end of 2030-31 season

• New deal represents a $19m per year increase on the six-year, $1.182bn deal signed in 2018, including a cash uplift of 10.5 per cent

• Seven has withdrawn legal proceedings against CA relating to pandemic affected BBL seasons

A reduction in BBL fixtures will see the tournament align better with the school holiday period, with more matches to be broadcast in prime time.

It will also increase the availability of international and Australian stars. CA previously worked to carve out time in January for the tournament during negotiations over the Future Tours Program.

By reducing the number of matches and adding $19m per year to the value of its broadcast rights, CA is hailing a deal that will drive further investment at all levels of the game. The domestic deal follows a record broadcast agreement with Disney Star for rights on the subcontinent.

The BBL previously had only one season of 43 games, BBL|07 in 2017-18, when the eight clubs each played 10 matches, before a three-game finals series. Perth, who finished top of the table, lost their semi-final to Hobart, prompting calls for a 'double chance' for the top-placed finisher.

With a new FTP to kick in this year, the new broadcast agreement includes two five-Test Border-Gavaskar series against India, and two five-Test men's Ashes series.

An expanded women's calendar in the new FTP will see Australia play home multi-format (Test, ODI, T20) series against India, England and South Africa in the first three years of the new deal.

Seven announced to the stock exchange that it will pay $65 million annually in the new deal, a figure that will rise by two per cent each year of the agreement. That figure does not include 'contra' - an industry term for free advertising space and promotion. Seven's said the new deal was a 13 per cent reduction on what it pays in cash in the current deal.

The Foxtel Group, which is not publicly listed, declined to reveal what it is paying. But Seven's figures mean there is about $144 million to be paid annually by the Foxtel Group, made up of cash and contra, out of the total $216m the deal is worth each year.

The pair pay $197m per year in cash and contra in the current deal, of which $75m is cash from Seven.

CA chief executive Nick Hockley said he was "delighted" to have secured an extension with the existing broadcast partners after "strong levels of interest" from all major Australian commercial networks.

"The quality and reach of the Foxtel Group and Seven's cricket production is first class and the outstanding service they provide cricket fans was a strong consideration in our decision to continue with this successful partnership," Hockley said in a statement.

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"This is also an important commercial outcome for all of Australian Cricket and one that will ensure we can continue to deliver important community programs, support volunteers and increase participation to keep cricket strong."

Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany hailed the deal as "great news for our more than 4.6 million subscribers".

Seven West Media CEO James Warburton, who had previously been outspoken in his criticism of CA over the BBL during the pandemic as his company launched legal action, currently before the Federal Court but which will now be withdrawn, was effusive in praise.

"I'd like to thank Nick Hockley and the Cricket Australia team for their continued efforts to drive cricket and, in particular, the improvements to the BBL," Warburton said in a statement.

"We look forward to working with Cricket Australia to grow Test cricket, women's internationals and the BBL and WBBL in the years ahead."

International Cricket Council events such as the men's and women's T20 and ODI World Cups and World Test Championship finals, are outside the domestic broadcast rights structure, and are controlled by the ICC. Broadcast negotiations for other bilateral series played overseas are managed by the respective home cricket board, which will see the Australian men's Test tour of India shown exclusively on Foxtel and Kayo, while the winter Ashes tour of England will be seen live on the Nine Network.