In an ongoing tension between Cricket Australia (CA) and Channel 7 over a broadcast fiasco, the free-to-air network has now dragged the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with claims of manipulating summer schedule. CA has been involved in a tug of war with broadcaster Channel 7 for months now, with the broadcaster accusing the board of failure to honor its contract.
According to latest reports, the Seven West Media led broadcaster is now seeking access to confidential documents and emails conversations between CA and its Indian counterpart over the schedule changes after the India vs Australia begun with the limited-overs contest. Seven believe CA gave in to the wishes of the BCCI to start the men’s summer with white-ball matches rather than Tests.
“It’s a shame that the cricket administration have kept their head in the sand. They really don’t value us as a broadcaster, preferring to outperform to the BCCI, who they are terrified of,” Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton told Sydney Morning Herald. The network argues the revamped schedule was influenced by the BCCI and has damaged Seven’s product.
Under the original calendar announced in May, the men’s summer includes a white-ball start with Twenty20s against West Indies and India, ahead of the T20 World Cup. However, due to the postponement of the T20 World Cup caused by the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, those matches were cancelled along with one-off Test against Afghanistan in Perth.
It prompted CA to move the one-day and T20 matches against India to before the Test series, leaving Seven without an international match until December 17, while Fox Sports, who has exclusive rights to limited-overs matches, forced to share the Tests with Seven, who does not have the rights to men’s ODIs and T20Is. Foxtel’s audience for the first ODI was also large with 470,000 viewers across all platforms.
“With so much positivity around Australian cricket, it is disappointing that Seven West Media has again chosen to use the media to talk our wonderful game down,” Cricket Australia Interim CEO Nick Hockley fired back at Channel 7 in a statement. “CA has maintained all along our commitment to delivering a thrilling summer of cricket,” Hockley added.
Channel 7 has already taken the battle to the court claiming that the CA has not honoured its AUD 450 million contract with them. CA had earlier offered a 20% discount due to changes caused by the pandemic but that was rejected. It is learnt that if CA is found guilty of breaching its $450m contract, the broadcaster could be awarded damages or have the final three years of the deal terminated.
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