Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has opened up on its organization's "relationship with Channel Nine," according to Chloe Saltau of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. As CA, armed with a lucrative offer from Channel Ten, "thrashes out" a new media-rights deal, Sutherland "denied the governing body's relationship with Nine, its broadcast partner of 36 years, had soured in recent months." In particular, he rejected the suggestion that "Nine's disdain for the rotation policy had affected negotiations."
It has been reported that "a prominent Nine commentator stormed out of a briefing on selection policies by Team Performance Manager Pat Howard." CA was extremely sensitive to criticism on the issue. Sutherland said, ''Like any summer, we have robust discussions with our partners, whether they're sponsors or media partners, about our issues. I've had conversations with [Nine boss] David Gyngell during the season, and in recent days and weeks, and there's nothing wrong with our relationship. We're trying to sell our media rights for the next five years and Nine are obviously the incumbent partner with a right to match anything we put forward as far as free-to-air TV is concerned."
Nine "has four weeks to decide whether to match Ten's offer," reportedly A$500M ($494M) over five years, and in the meantime faces a CA lawsuit to test whether the Big Bash League should be included in the network's ''last rights" (SMH, 5/16