Nine retains cricket TV rights


The Nine Network has won the rights to broadcast Australian cricket for the next five years in a deal worth $550 million to Cricket Australia.

The Nine Network will broadcast Test, one-day international and Twenty20 matches, it confirmed in its main Monday evening news bulletin.

The deal was sealed hours before a deadline with Cricket Australia and over the top of a $500 million rival offer by Network Ten earlier this month.

Nine's chief executive David Gyngell said in a prepared statement the deal set the network as a bigger, better and more profitable business.

"Make no mistake, as a result of this deal, Nine Entertainment is a larger, stronger and more profitable company than it was yesterday," Mr Gyngell said.

Nine's successful bid for a five-year deal to broadcast the cricket was well above the estimated amount paid jointly by Nine and Fox Sports of nearly $60 million each year.

Nine has broadcast international cricket matches for 36 years.

Also, in a separate deal worth about $350 million, it's believed Nine is about to purchase the WIN station in Adelaide and has undertaken to purchase the WIN Perth station, most likely next year.

Network Ten says it plans to make the domestic Big Bash cricket league a major free-to-air TV event.

Ten on Tuesday confirmed it had won the right to broadcast the domestic Twenty20 competition for five years from this summer.

The network is not saying publicly how much it paid for the rights, but it has been reported the deal is worth $100 million.

Ten had reportedly bid $500 million for the rights to all international cricket matches played in Australia plus the Big Bash, but the Nine Network has retained the rights to Test and One Day International matches.

Ten chief executive Hamish McLennan said the Big Bash competition had a lot of potential and would attract a broad audience.

"Ten and Cricket Australia will make it a major free-to-air television event," he said in a statement.

"We will work closely with Cricket Australia on the scheduling, marketing and promotion of the league to ensure it is the premium domestic sporting event of the Australian summer."

Ten's commentary team will be announced later in the year.

Cricket Australia and the Nine Network will reveal more about their broadcast rights deal later on Tuesday.