Australian Financial Review, The – Locked in what Seven West Media had nicknamed “the war room” in the luxury The Star hotel and casino resort on the Gold Coast, billionaire proprietor Kerry Stokes, his son Ryan and Tim Worner worked late into the night last Thursday to save the free-to-air broadcaster’s summer schedule and in the process change the entire network.

Summary

  • Without that strategy, and the serendipitous timing of having all the network’s executives in the one place for the Games, Seven executives admit they would never have won the cricket rights as part of a near $1.
  • However, in the last hours before final free-to-air bids were due at 11.45pm last Thursday, it was just the Stokes’ and Worner, having very tense conversations with Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland.
  • Ten, which had held the Big Bash League under the previous TV deal and grown the sport from a $20 million property no free-to-air broadcaster wanted into the crown jewel of Cricket Australia’s rights, submitted its final bid late on Thursday to be Foxtel’s partner after a frustrating day with the sporting body for the CBS-owned network.
  • At close to 5.15pm on Thursday, April 12, Ten and Cricket Australia shook hands on a deal to make Ten the free-to-air partner for cricket and Ten chief executive Paul Anderson signed a binding bid with a heads of agreement to be signed once drafted.
  • However, Ten’s team, which included Anderson, David Barham and Stuart Thomas, left Credit Suisse offices in Sydney, where Cricket Australia had based itself, with the expectation its bid wasn’t going to be shopped to rivals, BBL return to their network and Test matches come to Ten for the first time under a simulcast arrangement with Foxtel, and they would be returning to negotiate a heads of agreement later that night.


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