Canberra Times – American author, counsellor and academic Wayne W.
- The six-year, $1.2 billion broadcast-rights deal Cricket Australia finally snared a few days ago after a bidding battle as tense as a tied Test looks a game changer – for men’s and women’s cricket.
- That investment innings, which made Nine’s coverage the backdrop to Australian summers for many, began in 1977 when Nine’s then owner, Kerry Packer, revolutionised the game and took on the cricket establishment by launching and broadcasting World Series Cricket, a private tournament with players controversially poached from Test cricket.
- Nine’s run is over, with Packer’s long-time rival Rupert Murdoch’s pay-TV operation, Foxtel (co-owned with Telstra), and Seven West Media staking a huge bet – double the previous five-year rights deal – on cricket’s perennial popularity, and on digital technologies planned to permit the audience to ‘‘direct’’ their own coverage with camera-selection, virtual reality applications and interactive data and statistics.
- Foxtel’s participation means technology can be used to radically enhance presentation, but that people will have to pay to watch, at home or on mobile devices, all one-day and Twenty20 internationals as well as 16 matches of the Big Bash League.
- Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says it is ‘‘for Cricket Australia to explain how the arrangements they have entered into are in the interests of cricket fans and participants’’.