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Seven Launches Court Action Against Cricket Australia

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Seven Launches Court Action Against Cricket Australia

Cricket Australia (CA) has said they are “extremely disappointed” after Seven West Media launched federal court proceedings against CA to terminate their broadcast deal.

Seven is claiming CA caused broadcast deal breaches amid the struggling viewership of the Big Bash League (BBL). 

With $450 million and a 2023 broadcast schedule in the hands of the federal court, the latest proceedings mark the peak of the CA and Seven dispute which began in 2020.

“Seven’s intention is to terminate the [Media Rights Agreement (MRA)] conditional on the federal court granting a declaration that Seven is entitled to do so,” the Seven Network said in a statement.

“Seven has pursued the informal dispute resolution procedure under the MRA but the procedure failed to resolve the dispute,” the network added.

In a statement responding to the proceedings, CA said they had delivered “successful” cricket seasons, despite alleged ongoing broadcast deal breaches.

“CA is astonished that Seven has brought this unwarranted action which will be strenuously defended,” CA said.

“CA delivered two very successful cricket seasons in 2020-21 and 2021-22, including every WBBL and BBL game (a total of 240 games over two seasons) and highly acclaimed international schedules, despite the enormous challenges presented by the global pandemic.

“Cricket Australia is extremely disappointed that our broadcast partner, the Seven Network, has commenced legal proceedings against CA in relation to recent COVID-impacted cricket seasons,” they said.

Multiple reports suggest the reduced BBL viability of Australian captain, Steve Smith, alongside other international players, diminished broadcast quality.

Amidst COVID-19 player losses, a reduced rate requested by Seven was dismissed by Cricket Australia after CA managed to complete a full season of scheduled matches.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the timing of the current proceedings wager a better negotiating position for Seven come the 2024 broadcast rights cycle.

First submitting paperwork to the federal court against CA in 2020, Seven chief executive, James Warburton, in the same year, labelled CA “the most incompetent administration” he has dealt with. 

Despite current legal proceedings, Seven will continue to broadcast test cricket and the BBL until the matter is resolved.

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