The BBL will be reduced to a 43-game season under a new broadcast deal worth AUS1.512 billion, which Cricket Australia has secured with existing partners Channel Seven and Foxtel for a new seven-year term.
“There is no doubt that our relationship has been tested and there is nothing left that I can do to unsettle you,” said Lewis Martin, Seven’s head of network sport. “We had our issues with Cricket Australia and we have reset. They were challenging times, there’s no doubt about that… We’re passionate about cricket.”
The reduction of the BBL from its current 61-game season would reduce the length of the tournament, with the aim being to complete it within the school holidays and hopefully improve the availability of Australian and overseas players.
“We’re listening to the fans, we’re listening to the players, we’re looking at it this season with the BBL, it’s primetime nights in the middle of the summer holidays and what it allows us to do,” Nick Hockley CA CEO said. “It allows us to get the best players, it really sits next to our new future tours[rogramme”[programme”[rogramme।”[rogramme”
Between 2024 and 2031 all Australia domestic men’s Test matches and Australia women’s international matches will be broadcast on Seven and Foxtel, as has been the case since 2018. Foxtel’s streaming partner Kayo Sports and Seven’s streaming platform 7plus will also air all those matches.
Significantly, Australia’s men’s team’s white-ball internationals will remain behind a paywall on Foxtel and Kayo, and the majority of the BBL with the Tests will be available free-to-air on Seven and 7Plus.
All 43 matches of the newly streamlined BBL and WBBL will be broadcast on Foxtel and Kayo, including 10 home and away matches for each team and three finals. Foxtel will carry 10 of those games exclusively behind its paywall and intends to feature them in the Super Saturday series. Seven will broadcast 33 of the 43 BBL matches each year, including the final, and 23 of the WBBL matches, including the final.
“We are delighted to continue our broadcasting partnership with Foxtel Group and Seven under an improved deal,” Hockley said. “The quality and reach of Foxtel Group and Seven’s cricket production is first class and the outstanding service they provide to cricket fans was a strong consideration in our decision to continue this successful partnership.
American company Paramount, which owns Channel 10, and former cricket broadcaster Nine have also shown interest in the bidding process.
Paramount’s streaming service Paramount Plus launched in Australia in August 2021 and is already in the local sports market as broadcaster of the A-League and Australian football internationals.
But it is understood that neither Paramount Plus nor its struggling free-to-air affiliate Network 10 can match the reach of CA’s current broadcast hosts.
Foxtel has a subscriber base of 4.6 million, of whom around 1.3 million have signed up to streaming platform Kayo, while Sevens Test coverage is one of the highest programs on free-to-air television this summer.
Paramount Plus has not yet disclosed its own figures, but an August estimate from market research specialist Roy Morgan put the platform’s local subscriber base at around 400,000.
CA’s decision to ignore Paramount comes after the AFL last year opted to reject the American company’s advances despite it being the highest bidder.