It looks like the cricket could remain exclusively on free-to-air TV, with broadcasters Nine and CBS-backed Ten going back to Cricket Australia (CA) with another joint bid for the rights, while Foxtel has left the negotiating table.
It’s understood that Nine and Ten’s bid is worth roughly $150 million per year for six years, with Ten to keep the Big Bash League and take the international T20 and one-day matches off Nine, leaving cricket’s long-time broadcaster with the Tests.
Both Nine and Ten declined to comment when contacted by B&T, but it’s understood Nine has kept its original bid.
Foxtel has confirmed it has withdrawn from negotiations for the cricket rights, after Fairfax reported that the pay TV giant made an aggressive offer to CA last week worth between $160 million and $170 million a year.
It was speculated that Seven was lining up to fill the free-to-air void in the Foxtel bid, which wouldn’t be surprising given it recently lost the tennis rights to Nine.
Negotiations for the cricket rights could not have happened at a worse time either for CA, with the ball-tampering scandal involving the Australian men’s Test team last month tarnishing the sporting body’s brand.
One expert has predicted CA could lose up to $500 million in broadcast rights due to the scandal.