Channel 7’s war with Cricket Australia has intensified after the broadcaster went to Federal Court in its bid to prove it is being short-changed by the sport’s governing body.
The Daily Telegraph reports Seven wants access to emails and other communication between CA and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), believing CA altered its summer schedule because of India’s wishes.
The ONLY place to watch every single match of India’s Tour of Australia is on Fox Cricket, available on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >
India and Australia are in the middle of a three-match one day international series, which started on Friday, and will play three T20s before a four-match Test series starting in Adelaide on December 17.
While Australia’s home Test series would normally start earlier in the summer, COVID-19 has caused havoc with the schedule, which CA said resulted in necessary changes being made.
White-ball games were originally scheduled to take place after Test series against Afghanistan and India, but the clash against Afghanistan was cancelled and the limited overs series against India were pushed forward to the start of the summer.
As reported by The Daily Telegraph, Seven has launched proceedings in the Federal Court as it attempts to argue these changes were the result of CA kowtowing to the all-powerful BCCI, rather than because of complications caused by coronavirus.
Channel 7 does not have the rights to broadcast limited overs matches, meaning the opening two ODIs against India have only been available to viewers with access to pay TV network Foxtel or subscriptions to sports streaming service Kayo.
Seven — which signed a $450 million deal in 2018 as it pinched the free-to-air TV rights from Channel 9 — is reportedly upset the change in schedule meant it was not given the opportunity to kick off the summer by showing the Test matches, which Foxtel also has broadcast rights for.
CA has regularly defended its position, confident it will deliver on its contractual obligations and provide the content promised to its broadcast partners.
Seven CEO James Warburton has previously called CA “the most incompetent administration I’ve ever worked with”, the bad blood stemming from concerns about the quality of players available for the BBL this summer.
As COVID-19 changed the sporting landscape across the globe, Seven chased a discounted deal and reports emerged the network might walk away from cricket altogether. Seven has already rejected a 20 per cent discount offered by CA to be spread over the course of the broadcast deal.
Huge audiences have tuned into Australia’s opening ODIs against India, as 585,000 viewers watched the second game in Sydney — making it the highest-rated one day match in subscription TV history, and the third most-watched sports event ever on subscription TV.
Fox Sports executive director Steve Crawley praised Cricket Australia’s scheduling in a statement on Monday, saying: “Beginning the summer with the white ball has proven to be a hugely successful formula for Cricket Australia.”