Ryobi Cup, Sheffield Shield Broadcasts Threatened By New Media Rights Deal
Telecasts of the Ryobi Cup and the Sheffield Shield cricket final "might become casualties of the new media rights deal being negotiated by Cricket Australia and the various TV networks," according to Andrew Faulkner of THE AUSTRALIAN. Insiders fear whoever wins the rights to screen domestic cricket "will jettison the 50-over competition to focus on the more lucrative Big Bash League." Cricket Australia "cannot force a rights holder to telecast the Ryobi Cup and Sheffield Shield final." BBL crowds and ratings "were down" by about 20% in the past season, but the competition still drew an average of 234,000 viewers (down from 284,000 in '11-12). That compared with an average Ryobi Cup TV audience of about 60,000 last summer. The Ten Network "is favoured to win the BBL rights" after making an offer believed to have matched Fox Sports' bid. Ten could on-sell the rights to the Ryobi Cup and Sheffield Shield, but "there is no guarantee Fox Sports -- or any other suitor -- would be interested without the BBL rights" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/7).