30 Sep

Channel Seven has paid the $10 million (US$7.1m) it owed Cricket Australia (CA) just days before the high-stakes feud between the game and the network heads to arbitration.

It has also emerged that CA's pay-TV broadcast partner, Foxtel, has paid in full the $33 million (US$23.5m) instalment it was due to make over a fortnight ago.

Seven West Media had threatened it would not pay another cent this summer after its initial payment, but it has decided to fulfil its contractual obligations to avoid giving CA any extra leverage before next week's talks.

CA has said throughout the wrangle that it would honour its side of the bargain and expected Seven, which pays $82 million (US$58.3m) in cash and contra to broadcast the game, to do likewise.

CA last week indicated for the first time that it would give ground by offering a discount to broadcasters on the six-year $1.18 billion (US$839.1m) deal signed in 2018.

Seven insists its decision to broadcast the current women's series against New Zealand on its main channel is an indication it is showing good faith.

Broadcasters are unhappy with the quality of the Big Bash League (BBL) this season, fearing the talent pool will be diluted by supersized international squads in hubs.

Foxtel is concerned over what impact turning the tournament into a travelling roadshow instead of the traditional fly in, fly out model, will have on the party atmosphere in the stands.

CA is yet to announce its revised schedule for the India series and the BBL but last week confirmed that the Test against Afghanistan and the one-day internationals against New Zealand would be postponed.

That has cleared room in the schedule for Australia's international stars to play in the BBL, although the availability of box office drawcards Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc is in doubt as it hinges on their workloads in the four Tests against India.

Both players did not follow Steve Smith by taking part in the BBL last season despite there being a small window for Australia's top players.

The schedule for India's tour is pending approval from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and government exemptions regarding quarantine, but industry sources have said its announcement is days away.

Sources have also indicated the start date for Sydney traditional New Year's Test could be pushed back to January 7 due to concerns from figures in high performance over workloads from the cramped schedule.

The series is due to start in Adelaide on December 16. Melbourne will keep its Boxing Day fixture before the circuit heads to Sydney, then Brisbane.

John Stephenson


#Cricketnews #CA #SevenWestMedia 

* The email will not be published on the website.