The sports channel wars heat up in Australia, ahead of the 2019 cricket bonanza of both the Ashes and ICC World Cup in the UK. With Channel 9’s 40 years of unpaid broadcasting set to end this season, new broadcast right holders play hard to get talented former players as their hosts. Channel 9 will officially stop broadcasting in the summer of 2018-19, as new rights owners’ Fox Sports and Channel 7 chase the likes of spin celebrity Shane Warne.
Domestic Tests twin telecast
For domestic tests held in Australia, Fox Sports and Seven will simultaneously telecast after $1.2 billion rights were sold to stakeholders. According to the chief of Cricket Australia, James Sutherland, the exclusive rights for Australia’s One Day Internationals and Twenty20 internationals will be held by Fox Sports. Exclusive for each season, will be Pay TV Services, 16 for each of the channels apart from 59 Big Bash games.
In the meanwhile, reports confirm that the popularity of Big Bash prompted Fox Sports to confirm former Channel 10 Big Bash host, legendary Aussie cricketer, Adam Gilchrist as the poster boy of its cricket coverage.
For Shane Warne fans, there are good days ahead, as Warne is currently caught in a three-way tussle between the noted three sports channels. By default, Channel Nine, the former cricket home, will be the primary channel Warne will consider, according to Erskine, Warne’s manager. Media reports speculate that Channel Seven has in principle decided to chase Warne, though the official news is yet to confirm such developments. The reason for such speculation about Channel Seven is that it is yet to announce its own cricket covering champion.
Gilly for FoxSports
Even as Warne discusses openings with competing channels, there was a slew of confirmations for some of the long-established commentators, who are former players. One of the first big players to be snapped up by Fox Sports was Adam Gilchrist, who will cover test cricket for the channel.
According to Patrick Delany, Fox Sports top-brass, “Gilly is one of the most loved cricketers of all time. He will lead the Fox Cricket coverage working across all three forms of the game.”
For Fox Sports’ it is its first venture into telecasting cricket events. The first of its coverage is the Test and the one-day series match between Australia and Pakistan. These matches will be played in the middle-east, beginning in the month of October.
As sports channels in Australia compete in the paid-telecast spectrum, it is the turn of talented ex-cricketers to seek new careers.