17 Apr

Cricket Australia (CA) is furloughing the majority of its staff until the end of the current financial year, the latest major Australian sporting body to be hit by the economic fall-out from Covid-19. CA staff will be asked to take an 80% pay cut or equivalent from April 27 until July following the lead of the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League (among other major codes) in reducing its workforce.

Even though CA was able to complete the bulk of its 2019-20 season before the crisis hit, the subsequent downturn has brought the indefinite postponement of cricket worldwide, which has severely disrupted CA’s commercial partnerships and other revenue streams.

CA is believed to be planning for a 50% reduction in revenue for next summer, which was scheduled to feature the T20 World Cup and a lucrative tour by India.

At its most recent AGM in October 2019, CA reported that it had approximately US$ 16 million in cash reserves and US$ 57 million in investments. Those investments are believed to have taken a serious hit due to the economic effects of coronavirus, reducing CA’s ability to weather the current storm without making pay reductions for staff.

“The impacts on the sports industry of the coronavirus pandemic are bigger than any one sport,” CA said in a statement released this afternoon.

“Cricket Australia, like all sporting bodies, is planning for a return to training/play although no one is certain when this will be possible at this stage, and many scenarios are being considered.”

On the playing side, the consequences of the move for CA’s contracted men’s and women’s players is being reviewed with the Australian Cricketers’ Association.

CA said it remains optimistic the men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, in October and November this year, will proceed, although games may be played behind closed doors if social distancing restrictions remain in place.

The Australian Financial Review reported on April 8 that CA’s media rights partner Foxtel Cable Television Pty. Ltd. made 200 employees redundant and will cut another 140 workers in a move to keep the company afloat amid the coronavirus crisis. Media news website Mumbrella reported that the Fox Sports pay-television channels and Kayo Sports OTT platform were among the Foxtel divisions hit by redundancies.

In 2018, Cricket Australia had announced a $1 billion plus broadcast deal with Foxtel and Seven West Media. The six-year deal, included a dedicated FOX Cricket channel. Seven and Fox Sports, both broadcast all men’s Test matches while Fox Sports exclusively broadcast all One-Day and T20 Internationals of the Australian cricket team. Foxtel also owns the digital rights for the Cricket Australia.

John Stephenson


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