Transcripts of a tense conversation between Cricket Australia and Seven West Media show the network’s desperation over a « radical » fixture change and the enormous influence of the Indian cricket board.
Cricket’s free-to-air partner and the sports association disagree on the schedule and quality of this summer’s men’s games – the international series against India and the Big Bash League. Seven is targeting a substantial cut in the annual $ 70 million cash fee paid as part of its claim and has not ruled out the possibility of termination within three remaining seasons.
In an affidavit from Lewis Martin, Seven’s sports director and chief executive in Melbourne, filed in federal court, Martin said his network was with the Sept.. May under the former CA boss Kevin published first game by CA satisfied Roberts.
Martin said Roberts used the term « BBL 02 » to describe the changes that should be made to revive a tournament where ratings had dropped by 23. 5 percent last summer from 2017 to 18. According to Martin, there would be innovation, more marketing and more « household names », not to mention a « strong fixture list » and « dominance » of inner-city derbies and Melbourne versus Sydney derbies.
Seven wanted a « quick start » to the summer with the BBL starting right after the opening game of the first Test against India, which was originally set for 3rd. December in Brisbane was planned.
In a meeting on Jan.. August CA introduced six new scheduling options that surprised Seven.
Among the scenarios, this meant that the Twenty20 series against India was switched from October to December, the one-day internationals switched from January to November to December and the first test from 3. December 17 in Brisbane. December was changed to Adelaide or Perth.
The start date of the BBL was from 3. on the 5th. , 9. or 12. December postponed, each time not coinciding with a major international cricket. One option was that of Sept.. until 13. December Australia-A-Tour match against India, which collided with the BBL.
According to Martin, in this conversation with BBL chief Alistair Dobson and CA’s chief of cricket operations, Peter Roach, he learned how India’s Board of Control for cricket – the world’s most powerful cricket organization – had taken its lead. The affidavit read by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald reports the conversation as:
Martin: Each of these options is a radical departure from the published schedule. Since May we have been working out our season planning according to the published schedule. That’s ridiculous. This is not the season we planned for. Why did you place the White Ball matches (T20 and ODI) before the first start of the India Test and BBL season?
Roach: The Indians are not quarantined twice. They want their playtesters and white ball players to be quarantined at the same time. After the white ball games, the white ball players can go home and the playtesters stay in Australia.
Martin continued to press for answers as to why the Twenty20 series against India, which will now begin in Canberra on Friday, could not be postponed, so the test series could not be postponed earlier than Jan.. December could begin in Adelaide.
On or around the 12th. November Martin had a conversation with Stephanie Beltrame, CA’s General Manager for Broadcasting and Commerce. According to an affidavit, Beltrame told Martin CA that he was « unhappy » for expressing « desperation » about why CA planned white ball games earlier this summer – broadcast exclusively on Foxtel – and why the BBL did not start on the same day as a test. The conversation between the two again highlighted the power of the BCCI.
Martin: « You canceled the 3 x West Indies T20 games without any problems, the World Cup was canceled and the Afghan test was canceled. Why couldn’t the 3 T20s against India be canceled? Had you canceled or canceled? « 3 x T20s and the 3 x ODIs where they were in the summer we built would be largely intact.
Beltrame: The West Indies didn’t have a show and it was postponed rather than canceled. The Afghan test was postponed and not canceled. We have done so much for Seven. It’s a global pandemic for God’s sake Lewis, nobody knows it more than you do.
Martin: The West Indies T20 and the Afghan Test didn’t ruin the summer like the 6 White Ball Matches and the Australia A Match. Why not postpone the 3 x T20s and let the summer we built over the year pass and give BBL 2. 0 the best chance?
Martin: He pointed this out several times in conversation with me. Steph, why did you bother those 6 games against India? You’ve had a huge impact on our business and every chance the BBL will recover.
Beltrame: We don’t think we’ve done that much for Seven. We think we will deliver the summer.
Martin: These 6 white ball matches meant 50 percent fewer BBL prime-time matches before Christmas, competing schedule with Aust A, no players, fewer test matches before Christmas. Surely you need to see how this has affected us?
Beltrame: Lewis, we have a bilateral agreement with BCCI for 10 games. I have to go, but I look forward to hearing from you later.
Jon Pierik is a cricket writer for The Age. He also reports on AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.
National Cricket Team of India, Cricket Australia, Seven Network, One Day International, Cricket Control Authority in India
World News – AU – ‘Ridiculous’: Tense transcripts show seven, cricket Australia’s schedule battle
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