Telstra Pulls Out Of Bidding War To Acquire Rights For Australian Cricket
Telstra has ruled itself out of the race to acquire mobile and digital content rights for Australian cricket, "in a blow for the sport's hopes to attract a bidding war for the non-television portions of its rights," according to Mitchell Bingemann of THE AUSTRALIAN. Telstra Digital Media Head Mark Buckman said, "We've got no plans in the cricket space. We will always look at every opportunity as they present themselves if we think they are going to provide a compelling piece of content to our customers and if we think that we can make a business case out of it and make money out of it. But at this point we haven't got any plans to pursue anything with Cricket Australia in that respect." The confirmation of Telstra's exit from cricket bidding "comes as the telco giant last week announced a restructure of its digital media and IPTV division to simplify and align its operations, marketing and sales activities." It is believed the Ten Network is leading the race for the cricket rights with a bid of as much as A$350M ($367M) "to snare the television broadcast rights from incumbent Nine Entertainment." Nine, Ten, Seven West Media and Fox Sports Australia "are also in the running with bids." But with no clear bidder for mobile or online rights, "it is now possible the free-to-air TV broadcasters could also try to pick up the digital rights in a package deal with television broadcast content" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/15).