Network Nine has told B&T that it will not be drawn on comments made by its managing director Jeffrey Browne (pictured) suggesting the network will have influence over team selections under its new broadcast deal with Cricket Australia.
The Australian this morning reported that Browne told a business lunch for the Sydney FC A-League club of the network’s concerns about the impact on ratings of Cricket Australia’s rotation policy last summer.
Browne implied that there will be a lot more discussion between Cricket Australia and the broadcaster about the team's rotation policy and scheduling moving forward.
"I understand why sports want to do that but people at home want to see the best players playing and we urge Cricket Australia to pick the best players every time," Browne said.
The comments come less than a month after securing a record breaking a $450 million broadcast deal to secure the rights to international cricket in Australia.
When contacted by B&T about the Browne’s comments, a spokesperson for Nine stated: “We are making no further comment on this, and as you can see in the body of the story we did not make any comment about ‘selecting the team’ we just noted the close partnership with Cricket Australia and high level of consultation both ways as is reflected in the contract.”
In a statement, CA’s chief executive James Sutherland also played down the comment, confirming it’s their decision who plays and who doesn’t.
"Cricket has a long-standing and successful relationship with the Nine Network but team selections and scheduling are matters for Cricket Australia," he said in a statement.
"The National Selection Panel selects the Australian teams."
"With the volume of international cricket being played, it will continue to be necessary for us to manage player workloads appropriately."