New player enters radio coverage of Australian cricket
A DAY after reports claimed Cricket Australia was set to cut ties with the ABC, the game has announced a new six-year radio rights deal that increases the ABC's cricket sphere.
The new radio deal for Australian cricket gives Macquarie Radio Network the rights as the primary radio partner - but the network has sub-contracted games to the ABC and Crocmedia, the new player in cricket's radio rights.
It was reported on Thursday that the ABC was about to get cut out of cricket's next radio deal after more than 80 years of coveage.
However, the new deal between Macquarie and the national broadcaster will boost the ABC's total coverage of Australian cricket by adding the women's Big Bash League to its coverage of men's international cricket - including Tests and one-day internationals.
Cricket Australia confirmed the deal via a statement on Friday afternoon.
Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said the inaccurate reports of the ABC being cut out of the next deal actively harmed the sensitive negotiations.
"We were very disappointed by inaccurate reporting this week suggesting that the ABC would no longer broadcast cricket. It undermined our commitment to the ABC and the ABC's longstanding commitment to cricket," Sutherland said.
"Never for a minute had it crossed our minds that the ABC was not a staple in the Australian cricketing summer.
"Radio has long been an important part of how people enjoy cricket in Australia over the summer, and the breadth and depth of these agreements ensures that people will be able to tune in to the cricket action regardless of where they are.
"In addition to continued commitments around the broadcast of women's international matches, it is pleasing to have secured radio coverage for all WBBL matches, a clear sign of the rapidly growing interest from fans for the competition.
"We are also excited to announce a new radio rights deal, which sees Macquarie Media return as a valued radio partner and Crocmedia also coming on board to complement cricket's radio footprint via their extensive regional syndication network.
"We are now looking forward to working together with these partners to deliver fantastic coverage of our game and promote cricket to all Australians."
The deal with Crocmedia means Test cricket and the Big Bash will be covered by the syndicated radio network - which includes Melbourne's SEN Radio.
It was reported by Wide World of Sports that Cricket Australia was prepared to walk away from the ABC - just as it did with Channel 9 when Cricket Australia signed its record $1.18 billion TV deal with Channel 7 and Fox Sports earlier this year.
It led to outcry from Aussie cricket fans.
Cricket Australia dismissed speculation on Thursday night.
"We are currently finalising our radio rights negotiation and are comfortable with this process," a CA spokesperson said on cricket.com.au.
"Current media speculation is incorrect. An announcement on these rights will be made in due course."
Cricket Australia's negotiations suffered a blow in early May when Triple M sensationally pulled out of talks despite Southern Cross Austereo putting together a successful product over recent summers.
The new radio rights are expected to cover the next six years, as was the case with the $1.2 billion deal that CA signed with the Seven Network and Fox Sports.
HOW CRICKET'S RADIO RIGHTS DEAL WILL WORK
ABC: All men's and women's internationals (Tests, ODI and Twenty20), WBBL matches, Prime Minister's XI, Governor General's XI
Macquarie Radio: All men's and women's internationals, Men's Big Bash
Crocmedia: Men's Tests, Men's Big Bash
- with AAP.