Nine 'without matching bid clause' in Cricket Australia rights tender
Nine Network, the Australian free-to-air commercial broadcaster, has left the race for rights to Australian cricket wide open after it turned out the opportunity to offer the final bid in negotiations for domestic rights from 2018-19 to 2021-22.
According to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Nine decided not to pay the multi-million-dollar fee to Cricket Australia that would have insured it could match any bid from a rival, notably Network Ten, the commercial broadcaster.
In the previous set of negotiations for the 2013-14 to 2017-18 rights cycle, Nine capitalised on the contract clause to outbid its rivals and hold onto the exclusive rights to Australia’s home international matches in a five-year deal worth A$490-million ($368 million)
At the time, Nine, which has been CA’s main television partner since 1977, was reported to have submitted its offer 50 minutes before the 5pm deadline.
It is claimed that Ten had offered A$550 million over five years for all domestic and international cricket in Australia and its consolation prize was the rights to the Big Bash League, the increasingly popular Twenty20 competition.
In a separate deal, Nine also holds rights to 2019 Ashes Series in England.
CA has said it does not expect to conclude the deals for domestic rights to Australian cricket until early next year.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Big Bash League has attracted record viewing figures for coverage of its opening weekend.
Yesterday’s season-opening fixtures attracted a peak audience of 629,000 on Ten.
An average audience of 422,550 tuned in to watch the Sydney Sixers defeat the Melbourne Stars in the second game of the day. The audience represented a 46.6-per-cent increase on the average viewership for the competition’s second season last year.