Seven pays Cricket Australia rights fee ahead of arbitration hearing
Seven Network, the Australian commercial broadcaster, has made an A$10 million ($7.8 million) media rights fee payment to Cricket Australia ahead of next week’s arbitration hearing over the two parties' domestic rights deal.
The pair have been at loggerheads over their rights deal, with Seven and fellow broadcast partner Foxtel, the pay-television operator, seeking discounts over what they perceive as a lower quality offering amid coronavirus restrictions in the 2020-21 season.
An arbitration hearing, which is evaluating the value of the rights deals, is due to be held next week.
CA has deals with Seven and Foxtel worth a combined A$1.8 billion over six years from 2018 to 2024. Seven pays A$82 million annually in cash and contra over three instalments per year.
Both broadcasters had withheld rights fee payments amid the dispute. However Foxtel recently paid a A$33 million instalment and Seven stumped up the full A$10 million owed to CA to protect itself before the tribunal, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
CA has previously insisted that there should be no discount for the broadcasters given that it is still offering a full schedule, prompting Seven to threaten to exit the deal completely. The schedule covers both home internationals and the Big Bash League, the men’s domestic Twenty20 tournament.
Last week, CA indicated it was willing to reduce its rights fees for the summer schedule but sources at Seven told the Herald a compromise was a long way off as the quoted price was still much higher than it considers reasonable.
Dates for the lucrative home series against India and the BBL are yet to be confirmed.
Last week, a planned home test against Afghanistan and a one-day international series against New Zealand were postponed.
Meanwhile, BKT, the Indian tyre manufacturer, has announced it has renewed and upgraded its partnership with CA to become an official league partner of the BBL.
Under the upgraded deal, BKT, which had been an official league supplier since 2018, will look to increase its brand awareness in Australia through additional activations in the 2020-21 season onwards.
Rajiv Poddar, BKT joint managing director, said: “We have partnered with the BBL because it gives us the opportunity to strengthen our brand awareness in a very important market – Australia – but also because we share with the BBL, BKT’s philosophy of ‘Growing Together’."