Cricket news - Channel Seven refuses to pay instalment in full to CA

The standoff has its roots in the uncertainty around this summer schedule.

The standoff has its roots in the uncertainty around this summer schedule.

The ongoing skirmish between Cricket Australia and its free-to-air broadcasting partner Seven West Media has escalated. The channel was due to make a payment of AUD 25 million to Cricket Australia but it's only done so in part on Tuesday and isn't willing to pay anything more this year.

Seven's chief executive James Warburton said that the channel has paid the first instalment according to what it considers "fair value" in the middle of a pandemic.

"Putting aside the questions of breach, in accordance with the contract Seven has invoked the right to appoint an independent expert to determine the fair value of the media rights against the expected schedule for the season compared to the originally published schedule," said Warburton. "Seven has paid the first instalment reflecting our fair value."

Warburton has been vocal about Seven's displeasure with CA in the past too. In an interview to The Daily Telegraph last month, he called them a "train wreck"with a "stumbling, bumbling and incompetent" administration.

Last week, Seven sent a legal letter to CA, noting their intentions to begin the process of terminating the AUD 450 million contract.

The standoff has its roots in the uncertainty around this summer schedule. The Channel has doubts about the quality of cricket this summer inside bio-bubbles bereft of packed stands, which is why it wants a "fair value" to pay this season. It further argues that the quality of the Big Bash League will suffer because a lot of players would need to be part of the extended bio-bubble.

Seven was also miffed when CA revised the summer schedule by bringing in the white-ball games ahead of the Tests, meaning the channel which doesn't have rights to ODIs and T20Is will have to wait further to telecast a men's international this summer.

It is understood that Foxtel, CA's pay-television broadcaster partner, has written to the cricket board and are also in the process of negotiating a fairer deal on the AUD 33 million instalments that's due, although unlike Seven they are not willing to speak on the matter publicly.