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Cricket Australia-Channel Seven Feud Continues As Network Demands Arbitration

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even West Media has remained adamant to pursue arbitration in its bid for a major cut in rights fees, despite calls from Cricket Australia (CA) to drop the case.

On Tuesday, Seven lodged the paperwork with the Australian Chamber for International and Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) seeking an independent assessment of its deal with CA, breaching their contract with the governing body.

This follows the network paying the remaining $10 million it owed CA as part of their $1.18 billion broadcast deal signed alongside Foxtel in April 2018.

CA CEO, Nick Hockley, said there are no grounds in CA’s contract with Seven which allows the ACICA to value the broadcast deal, however, the governing body is waiting for ACICA’s decision whether the matter will be brought to the arbitrator.

Seven disagreed, saying both parties had already been notified by the ACICA and the case will be heard by an independent expert.

CA is still reserving all rights to take the dispute to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Back in March, the network approached CA for a discount on broadcasting fees, claiming dissatisfaction with the quality of competition in the COVID-19-affected season.

Seven rejected a 20% cut offered by CA, with reports suggesting the network was seeking at least a 40% reduction in broadcast fees.

The original deal was premised on major event ratings expected as a result of the Big Bash League (BBL) and Australia’s annual home test series against India.

Seven West Media managing director, James Warburton, says the BBL and India series is not worth the $75 million in cash drop-off in talent.

The argument stems from the series schedule with India, which has left Seven without international men’s content throughout November.

Should Seven walk away from cricket, the network would not broadcast a major sport over the holiday period, having already relinquished rights to the Australian Open to Nine.

Seven will continue to broadcast current competitions.