India's tour of Australia immediately after the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is looking bleak after broadcasters Seven West Media has reportedly started cancelling its contract with Cricket Australia (CA). It's like Star India deserting the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as its global broadcast partners just weeks ahead of a lucrative home series. (More Cricket News)
Well-placed sources in India say the series is in serious jeopardy because CA, already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, will not have enough money to produce the series that will feature at least four Test matches and half-a-dozen white-ball games to be played over November 2020 and January 2021.
In 2018, CA awarded the broadcast rights to Seven West Media and Foxtel ahead of its long-standing partner, Channel Nine. The deal with Seven West Media and Foxtel was worth a whopping $1.182 billion over six years.
It is learnt that Seven West Media has asked for a discount of $137 million over the next two seasons. If that happens, CA will go bankrupt.
Reports suggest that Seven West Media wants to walk away from the remainder of its $450 million deal with the cricket board, saying that the quality of teams were an issue since several stars would stay away due to the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine regulations. This includes the Big Bash League too where CA has just extended its sponsorship with KFC.
Broadcasters like Seven West Media and Foxtel are not amused if cricket goes behind a paywall. Photo - BCCI
Any series with the Indian cricket team is considered as a blockbuster and if Seven West Media either walks away or agrees to heavily discounted terms, CA, already in financial doldrums, will find it hard to produce the series.
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The fact that all matches may be behind a paywall has not amused Seven West Media. Foxtel has already asked for a discount because this will be a first when viewers will be denied the luxury of watching live cricket on free-to-air TV.
CA has so far not been able to announce the fixtures for the India series. There is a strong possibility that the limited-overs matches may be played ahead of the Tests.
With just over two weeks left to find a solution with its broadcasters, CA will be hit with a financial tsunami if the India tour falls through.
Meanwhile, the first ball of the summer will be bowled at Allan Border Field in Brisbane on September 26, when Australian women play New Zealand in the opening match of their T20 series.
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