Cricket Australia Could Benefit From Channel Ten's Apparent Revival
The "shockwaves" of TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson’s switch to Channel 10 have "rolled all the way to the sporting world to redefine the battle zone for cricket’s new broadcast deal," according to Robert Craddock of the Brisbane COURIER-MAIL. Only four months after it was feared Channel Ten "may be on the verge of drawing its last breath," the station is now "precisely where Cricket Australia wants it: on its feet throwing punches." CA does not necessarily need Ten to retain the Big Bash League "in the face of a major bid" from Channel Nine, which "wants everything," but it "desperately needs another robust free-to-air bidder to force the price up." Even when it was "clear" the price of BBL rights was worth more than the "fading value" of Ten after it was placed in voluntary administration in June, Ten execs were "talking up the prospects of retaining the Twenty20 ratings juggernaut." Wilkinson’s defection from Nine to Ten on a seven-figure deal was the "type of aggressive move needed to show Ten, while still in a delicate transitional stage, could still put its money where its mouth is." With U.S. media company CBS "on the verge" of becoming Ten’s new owner and reported to have approved the Wilkinson deal, Ten has the "ability to snap the ball and chain from its previous debts and be a lively competitor in the cricket rights, expected to be settled in the next six months." Fox Sports is "also in the hunt" for rights and may yet "prove king maker" if it agrees to joint deals in the way it has in the National Rugby League with Channel Nine and Australian Football League with Seven (COURIER-MAIL, 10/17).