Channel Seven abandons Olympics for first time since 1956 in bid to retain Australian cricket rights

Channel Seven ABANDONS the Olympics for the first time since 1956 in final bid to retain the Australian cricket rights, with Channel Nine in the box seat to claim the rights for both

Channel 7 has walked away from the Olympics after almost 70 years of covering the event for Australian audiences in a bid to make a serious challenge to retain the Australian cricket broadcast rights.

The lucrative rights to Test cricket, limited overs internationals and the Big Bash League had appeared set to return to Channel Nine with the broadcaster launching a massive a record $1.5 billion deal in conjunction with Foxtel.

That would mean cricket would return home to Channel Nine who broadcast the sport for 40 years before Channel Seven swooped in 2019.

The Tokyo Olympics reportedly cost Seven West Media $50million with Channel Nine now in the box seat to claim the rights

Cricket Australia is set for a major payday with Channel Nine, Seven West Media and Paramount competing for the broadcast rights

Cricket Australia is set for a major payday with Channel Nine, Seven West Media and Paramount competing for the broadcast rights

However Seven West Media, owners of Channel 7, have now officially walked away from the Olympics with the games set to go to Channel Nine.

The Herald Sun has reported that Nine offered in excess of $300million for the broadcast rights to the Olympics, $100million more than Seven West Media.

However the money saved from surrendering the Olympics means that Channel Seven can beef up their offer to retain the cricket rights alongside pay and subscription providers Foxtel and Kayo – both owned by News Corp.

Nine already owns the rights to the Australian Open and also pays around $100million for the free-to-air NRL rights, plus the network is also likely to gain the Olympics.

The Sun reported that Channel Seven lost around $50million covering the Tokyo games, which means Channel Nine is going to have to spend big to reclaim cricket after splashing the cash on other sports.

However current broadcasters Channel 7 and Fox Sports are both reportedly unhappy with the Big Bash in its current state, which could work against those networks securing the rights.

The Big Bash League could be a key part of negotiations with Channel 7 unhappy with the current format and Channel Nine covering the Australian Open in January

The Big Bash League could be a key part of negotiations with Channel 7 unhappy with the current format and Channel Nine covering the Australian Open in January

US streaming service Paramount, that owns Channel 10, has raised the bar for all networks after launching a whopping $1.5billion bid for the exclusive rights to all cricket.

However Cricket Australia is understood to be hesitant to move all games to streaming only services.

A decision was expected by Christmas, but that will likely be delayed by Seven West Media’s revised bid to retain the cricket rights.

A decision is likely to come soon with Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson indicating that negotiations were reaching their conclusion

A decision is likely to come soon with Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson indicating that negotiations were reaching their conclusion

Cricket Australia chairman Lachlan Henderson said a decision would be made soon. 

‘The negotiations are commercial in confidence … it is reaching the pointy-end as we speak,’ Henderson said on Friday.

‘There is a lot of interest in the cricket media rights and we are really pleased we have interest from all the major parties.’

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