Australia’s second-largest telco is reportedly looking to expand its cricket broadcast rights, with Network Ten’s Big Bash League (BBL) the big drawcard.
Cricket Australia has had informal talks with a number of parties around broadcast rights, with Optus being one of them, according to sources of The Australian Financial Review.
The AFR’s sources noted that a decision has not yet been made, with Optus needing to win over parent company Singtel before any deal could be done. Furthermore, any bid by the telco will be centred around how may how many subscribers it expects to add.
The AFR understands that the BBL rights – which are currently held by Ten on a $20 million-per-year contract – are what Optus is most keen on.
Problem is, the free-to-air networks are the only parties that Cricket Australia is interested in selling the BBL rights exclusively to, according to sources of the Fairfax masthead.
But, the AFR believes Cricket Australia might be happy to let subscription players like Optus or Foxtel have some BBL matches, but only if the deal also had a sizeable free-to-air TV component.
If any sort of deal involving Optus came about, it wouldn’t be the telco’s first foray into the cricketing landscape, having signed a multimillion-dollar sponsorship package with Cricket Australia to become its mobile streaming partner in 2015.
Optus Sport also has the rights to air classic cricket matches.
The telco shocked many two years ago when it amped up its sport coverage by shelling out $50 million to broadcast the English Premier League in Australia.