Cricket rights tussle looms

TEN’s incoming CEO Hamish McLennan has been talking up opportunities to seize major sports rights, but Nine’s managing director Jeffery Browne strategically uses media to.

Cricket as a product has not seen escalating ratings and, crucially, many scheduled days have been lost for weather [and] uneven opponents,” Browne said. ”Also, it is largely played outside the ratings period, he said.

As Jon Pierik notes in the Sydney Morning Herald, [highlight color=”green” style=”style-2″]this summer about 30 per cent of scheduled Test days were never played. Of those 43 missing days, about 86 per cent were due to Tests finishing early, with the rest resulting from bad weather. In one-day cricket, about 13 per cent of the scheduled matches were either washed out or finished early.[/highlight] Nine must also stump up for $13 million in annual production costs.

”It’s up to Cricket Australia to determine which network is the best fit and most likely to assist it to continue to build its brand,” Browne said. ”I think Nine’s Wide World of Sports is not only the leading sports brand in Australia but it is internationally acclaimed, having won the bronze medal for all international sports broadcasters at both the Vancouver and most recent London Olympic Games. It is an enviable reputation, enhanced by the last 36 years of broadcasting international cricket in Australia.”

Meanwhile Deadline reports James Murdoch told the audience at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that the company won’t go overboard in buying rights to sports programming.

“It’s important to have a portfolio of rights where you can walk away,” he said. For example, the Los Angeles Dodgers wanted payments that were “too rich for us,” leading the team to create its own regional sports channel. “We understand how to price sports and package them properly.”

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