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Seven Network Begins Termination Of Cricket Australia Broadcast Deal

C
hannel 7 has begun the process of terminating its $450 million, $82 million per year, broadcast deal with Cricket Australia.

The Daily Telegraph reported Seven notified Cricket Australia this week of its intention to cancel the remainder of the deal with four years still remaining on the contract that was signed in 2018.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Seven has officially notified Cricket Australia of its issues with the calendar for the summer of cricket and will not send its next broadcast payment of $25 million, which is due on Tuesday.

Cricket Australia released a brief statement addressing the claims from Seven, saying as long as it provides a full summer of cricket, it will not be in breach of the free-to-air broadcast deal.

“Cricket Australia remains in ongoing discussions with the Seven Network about delivering a compelling summer of cricket,” Cricket Australia (CA) said.

“CA is committed to fulfilling its contractual obligations to all its partners this season.”

Seven CEO, James Warburton, said in August Cricket Australia is the “most incompetent administration I’ve ever worked with”.

Claiming the changes to the international calendar will devalue the Big Bash League (BBL) season due to key international stars not being available for BBL clubs due to COVID-19 quarantines surrounding international play.

“We are forced to consider all our options including terminating the contract, and we have put them on notice,” Warburton told The Daily Telegraph in August.

“This is not an acceptable product, and we will not support the season.

“Cricket Australia have an obligation to deliver a competition of no lesser standard than the past…

“How stupid to schedule international cricket against the BBL and drain the resources of a competition already under pressure.

“It’s a joke, and it rips off the fans.

“We paid a huge price and were promised the world.

“There is an obligation to deliver the best quality to the broadcasters.

“It’s the most incompetent administration I’ve ever worked with, with no appointed full-time chief executive officer at a time when the sport needs strong leadership to steer through these extraordinary times,” he said.

Cricket Australia could be forced to fast-track a search for a new free-to-air broadcast partner if Seven follows through in terminating its contract and could even begin the international cricket calendar without a broadcast partner.

The knock-on effects of the broadcast deal being terminated could be disastrous for Cricket Australia and the BBL, with sponsors reportedly likely to ask for revised, discounted deals due to the broadcast disruptions.