Australia's federal communications minister has moved to clarify the rules around the country's anti-siphoning broadcast list after it was announced that men's limited-overs internationals will be shown exclusively on subscription television for the next six years.
Cricket Australia yesterday announced a joint broadcast deal with free-to-air broadcaster Seven West Media and subscription service Fox Sports worth A$1.182bn.
The deal will see greater cumulative hours of men's and women's international cricket broadcast free on Seven, but has drawn public ire with the move to broadcast men's ODI and T20 internationals exclusively on Fox Sports.
Seven will broadcast Test cricket – with India and Sri Lanka both visiting in the 2018-19 summer – as well as 43 games of an expanded men's Big Bash League season, including the finals. Fox Sports will simulcast the Test and BBL cricket on its platforms, while an additional 16 BBL games will be exclusive to the pay-TV network. Details of those games have yet to be finalised.
The Ten Network screened 43 games of the BBL last summer, with BBL|08 expanded to be a full home-and-away season.
Both broadcasters will stream 23 matches of Women's Big Bash League cricket, with the non-televised matches to be streamed in broadcast quality on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app.
Federal minister Mitch Fifield said the anti-siphoning list "does not guarantee or mandate that those sporting events (on the list) are on free-to-air TV".
The anti-siphoning list – officially known as the Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice – covers a wide variety of sports, some of which are already screened on pay TV. It includes the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, the Melbourne Cup horse race, all AFL and NRL matches and Wallabies rugby Tests played in Australia or New Zealand, as well as various tennis, netball and motor sports events.
For cricket, it includes all Test matches Australia plays at home or in England, home ODIs and home T20 internationals. It also includes Australia's matches in the World Cup or World T20 when played at home, and the final of any tournament hosted in Australia or New Zealand.
"The anti-siphoning list gives the free-to-air broadcasters the first right to negotiate," Senator Fifield said on 2GB radio.
"It does not mandate that free-to-air broadcasters have to purchase events. It does not mandate that if they do purchase, that they have to show them. And it does not mandate that if they do purchase events that they can't then on-sell them to other platforms.
"The list ... is there to increase the likelihood some of these significant events are on free TV.
"But it's not possible for any government to mandate that free-to-air broadcasters have to purchase certain events.
"What it does is give them the first opportunity and makes it more likely that these events will be on free-to-air TV."
The Minister said there were no plans to change the list, and he has been briefed on the deal between CA, Seven and Fox by Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland.
Fixtures for the 2018-19 summer are yet to be confirmed by CA but it has been reported that South Africa will play a limited overs series, while India are also expected to play T20s and ODIs around a four-Test schedule.
What cricket’s rights deal means for fans
Men's Test matches Seven and Fox Sports
Women's internationals Seven and Fox Sports
Men's ODIs and T20Is Fox Sports
BBL Forty-three matches on Seven and Fox Sports, 16 matches on Fox Sports
WBBL Twenty-three matches on Seven and Fox Sports, 36 matches live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App
Sheffield Shield Final on Fox Sports, remaining matches live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App
One-Day Cup Thirteen matches on Fox Sports, remaining matches live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App
International tour matches Some matches on Fox Sports, remaining games live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App
Allan Border & Belinda Clark Medal Night Seven and Fox Sports
On-demand highlights Cricket.com.au, Cricket Australia Live app and Fox Sports
WHAT EACH NETWORK WILL SHOW
Seven Network: Men's Tests, women's internationals, 43 BBL games, 23 WBBL games, AB & BC Medal Night
Fox Sports: Men's Tests, men's ODIs, men's T20Is, women's internationals, all BBL games, 23 WBBL games, AB & BC Medal Night, PM's XI & GG's XI matches, Sheffield Shield final, 13 One-Day Cup matches, digital partnership with Cricket Network