The inside word on Ch7’s legal action against CA

With Channel Seven taking Cricket Australia to court seeking to terminate their $450 million cricket broadcast rights, it leaves the upcoming two summers of home cricket in jeopardy.

The deal involving Seven and Cricket Australia is entering its fifth year in the six-year contract signed in April 2018.

News Corp’s Robert Craddock believes Seven had to overpay for the rights when outmaneuvering Channel Ten, a move that had them on edge.

However, he added that Seven will likely have to bid for the next round of rights, further complicating the relationship.

“They paid too much and they’ve never been totally comfortable with the deal,” Craddock told SEN Mornings.

“They are entering year five of a six-year contract… I feel they will not get the contract blown up, I’ll have that tip now.

“I may be wrong (but) I just feel their grounds, they do have some reasonable points, but it’s more likely it’ll go the journey.

“And here’s the weird thing about it… (Channel Seven and Cricket Australia) will be linked again. Seven will bid – I think – for the next rights in some form, just to keep the price up.

“They’re playing the big game of trying to gas their opposition. They can’t afford Channel Nine or Channel Ten to get the rights at a discount price, so they’ll stay in the hunt for a while.

“They need CA a little bit and CA need them a little bit, but beyond this six-year rights deal, I don’t think we’ll see Cricket and Seven again.”

Seven’s court action is understood to be based on the declining quality of the BBL, which has been struck by COVID and a lack of star power in recent years.

Craddock also revealed that Seven is still planning as if they will host the cricket this summer.

“The contract actually says the competition (BBL) cannot recede in its worth, it has to be a better competition than it was last year, that has not been the case,” he added.

“There’s strength in some arguments, but I have to say, at this relatively late date of five years into a six-year deal, I was a little bit surprised that they asked for the termination of the deal.

“Cricket Australia are quite angry about it and it’s an interesting path forward because on one hand Channel Seven is asking for the deal to be rescinded, but I know they’re also selling ads for this season, so they’re getting on with the job.”

It is believed that the case will likely go to the Federal Court early next year.

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