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SBD Global/December 7, 2012/Media

Australian Twenty20 Big Bash League Live On Free-To-Air TV Under New Deal

The Twenty20 Big Bash League "will be shown on free-to-air TV for the first time under the terms of cricket's new A$400M ($420M) broadcast-rights deal," according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The competition "is now televised by Fox Sports, but under the new broadcast-rights arrangement with Cricket Australia, to be finalised in the new year, Channel Nine will also get a slice of the local T20 pie." Fox Sports "has agreed to allow Nine to simulcast the BBL finals" -- two semifinals and the final itself -- as part of its bid to "retain the domestic rights, which expire at the end of the season." There have been suggestions that the overall new cricket-rights package "will fetch as much as A$500M over five years." CA estimates its total TV-deal revenue "will top A$1B, taking into account its overseas contracts such as its rich deal with India's ESPN STAR Sports." However, sources close to the negotiations have told Fairfax Media that "the most the rights would draw would be A$80M a year, making a total of A$400M over the five-year term." Negotiations between the existing TV companies and CA "have crept along slowly and are certain to continue into the open market beyond Nine and Fox Sports' period of exclusivity, which ends on Dec. 31" (SMH, 12/7). The COURIER-MAIL reported "while the Big Bash TV deal may still be months away, there is little doubt it is an attractive package, especially considering Fox Sports' Big Bash coverage last summer produced record ratings for domestic cricket." The Big Bash "is poised to become increasingly attractive to int'l audiences, and especially with viewers in cricket-mad India, who are always eager for more cricket on TV." Brisbane Heat coach Darren Lehmann "believes the Big Bash, and T20 cricket in general, will continue to explode in popularity." Lehmann "believes the next step for the Big Bash is greater exposure on free-to-air TV." He said, "The talk around the traps is it will end up on free-to-air as well as pay-TV. That is what everyone would like, I suppose" (COURIER-MAIL, 12/6).
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