Channel Nine’s attempt to revamp its cricket coverage this summer ahead of TV rights negotiations with Cricket Australia appears to be failing so far, as the network’s ratings continue to slide.
Nine has adopted some new methods this summer to try and boost its cricket ratings, which include having only two commentators on air at once and providing a deeper analysis of the game.
And while the Aussie cricket team’s fortunes turned around in its recent one-day international (ODI) series against New Zealand, The Daily Telegraph reported that Nine’s ratings were down 32 per cent on the previous summer, with the network’s woes beginning during the Test series against South Africa in November.
Nine’s five-city metro average for its ODI ratings has fallen from 1.363 million last summer to 921,000 this time around, but Cricket Australia has defended the ratings slump, according to The Daily Telegraph.
The sport’s governing body has blamed the fact that the ODIs were played in December as opposed to January during the holidays. Cricket Australia has also claimed that the New Zealand team doesn’t pull the same audience as India (who toured last summer), and that Australia batting first in all three ODIs doesn’t help.
Furthermore, Cricket Australia argued that even if numbers are down, the main thing is that cricket is winning its timeslot, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Meanwhile, the sporting body is considering asking the federal government to take home matches played between Australia and minnow nations off the anti-siphoning list (which allows premium sport to only be broadcast on free-to-air TV networks), according to The Australian.
The move would see Test matches, ODIs and T20 international matches available to pay TV platform Foxtel.
Nine Entertainment currently holds the rights to the Aussie cricket team’s home international matches until 2018, and has made it clear it will not bid aggressively to retain its rights, The Australian reported.