By Josh Alston For Daily Mail Australia
US streaming giants Paramount appear unlikely to secure the exclusive cricket broadcast rights despite launching a record $1.5 billion with a combined Channel Nine and Fox Sports bid emerging as the favourite.
Cricket is set for a massive pay day with competition hot for the exclusive rights to Test cricket, limited overs internationals and the domestic Big Bash League.
Foxtel and Seven West Media currently hold the rights after securing a six-year broadcast deal in 2019 that ended 40 years of cricket on Channel Nine.
Channel Nine’s commentary team of Mark Nicholas, the late Shane Warne and Mark Taylor used to be an iconic part of summer
However, with that deal to expire in 2025, Channel Nine is well placed to beat both Seven West Media and Paramount – who own Channel Ten – to reclaim their place as the home of cricket in Australia along with Foxtel.
It could be a case of Groundhog Day for Paramount, which also made a massive play for the exclusive AFL broadcast rights before being beaten by Foxtel, Seven West Media and Telstra who secured the rights until 2031.
Paramount’s $1.5billion offer was the largest in history for Australian cricket and dwarfs the $1.182billion deal Seven West Media and Foxtel paid in 2019.
However, it has been Cricket Australia is reportedly hesitant to move to an all-streaming service and is working on a deal involving News Corp, Foxtel and the return of Channel Nine.
It is likely that Nine would only hold the rights to FTA coverage, with streaming to go to News Corp platform Kayo.
Finances are still being negotiated, but the Herald Sun has reported that Cricket Australia wants Channel Nine to come up with $80 million which would close the gap on the Paramount offer when combined with the Foxtel and News Corp spend.
While Seven West Media and Foxtel would be willing to combine for a new deal, their offer was $40 million short of the Paramount deal which means it is unlikely.
ussie cricket players are set to become even more cashed up under the new broadcast deal that will reach record figures
That is because Seven West Media has no interest in the Big Bash League and has made several attempts to terminate its contract with Cricket Australia claiming contract breaches by the sporting body.
If the cricket were to return to Channel Nine the network would have a monopoly on the blue chip summer sporting events after securing the Australian Open tennis for $100 million a year.
Cricket Australia is expected to make its decision in the coming days.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
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