Channel Seven has reportedly begun the process of terminating the remainder of its $450 million broadcast deal with Cricket Australia, citing a breach by the Australian board, and is said to have given CA 14 days to respond. As things stand, the face-off looks set to end in a legal tussle.
Two weeks after James Warburton, the CEO of Channel Seven, called Cricket Australia (CA) a ‘trainwreck’ for the board’s appalling handling of the summer schedule, the Seven Network, according to reports in Australia, has begun accelerating the process of terminating its contract with Cricket Australia.
According to a report by Australian news publication ‘Daily Telegraph’, the network is believed to have sent Cricket Australia a legal letter earlier this week informing the CA bosses that the channel is officially beginning the process to cancel the remainder of the $450 million deal. The reason for the name, as cited by the channel, is believed to have been a breach by the Australian cricket board.
In its letter, the Seven network is also said to have talked about fee reduction, something Warburton also earlier mentioned in his outburst a couple of weeks ago. It is believed that Cricket Australia have been given 14 days to ‘respond or remedy’, failure of which could see “the explosive fight go into a lengthy mediation and arbitration process.” The Daily Telegraph noted that the two parties look set to indulge in a lengthy legal battle.
“Seven and CA executives have been in talks since last Friday but the issue now appears headed for an ugly legal battle. If Seven was ultimately successful in its legal challenge, the game could be left without a free-to-air broadcast partner on the eve of the summer,” read a report on the publication’s website.
“CA has maintained all along it’s confident in its legal position that as long as it provides a full schedule, it will be upholding its end of the bargain in the mega TV rights deal.”
The report also further added that owing to the ongoing tussle, Seven will not make it's next multi-million dollar broadcast payment due next week. The network had, two weeks ago, expressed its dissatisfaction over the haphazard management and organization within CA and also raised questions over the quality of the forthcoming season of the Big Bash League, which is likely to not feature a host of big names.
The network had demanded a reduction in the broadcast fee owing to the same but the CA downrightly refused to renegotiate, promising the network that there won’t be any compromise in quality.
The ramifications of Channel Seven terminating the contract could be huge for Cricket Australia, who are already in the midst of a financial crisis after being hit by the pandemic.