Channel Seven is threatening to sue Cricket Australia for “many millions of dollars” in an ongoing legal stoush between the cricket body and free-to-air broadcaster.
As reported on B&T yesterday, Seven West Media lawyers have been attempting to subpoena emails between the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Foxtel and state governments, which Seven claims prove that CA had broken its contract after COVID altered a number of terms including the number of games and touring teams.
Seven is particularly aghast that some of the Tests against India, which were to have been the first international matches of the summer, were pushed to January when viewer numbers are traditionally low.
It’s unclear if Seven is attempting to get out of its four-year, $70 million a year broadcasting contract, or if it’s seeking a reduction and compensation.
As reported in The Australian, an affidavit filed to Melbourne’s Federal Court, Seven is claiming CA was accommodating India and incentives from State governments – including Tasmania – and not COVID-19, which is why the summer schedule was altered so substantially.
Seven is claiming it has suffered serious commercial damage due to the changing schedule.
The affidavit states Seven head of sport Lewis Martin and other Seven executives held a meeting with CA executives on August 7 to discuss the proposed new summer schedule.
The affidavit also says CA’s scheduling decisions could have been motivated by CA’s broader interests in relation to the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) and Foxtel.
As written in the affidavit, Seven could sue CA for breach of contract and get “many millions of dollars” in damages.
The affidavit is seeking documents, which Martin says will “be directly relevant to whether Seven has a right to obtain damages from CA” for the breach of contract.
The affidavit states: “I expect that Seven’s damages claim may be for many millions of dollars given the significance of cricket coverage to Seven’s advertising revenue and the magnitude of the scheduling changes made by CA.”