Australian Cricket fans are at risk of missing out on viewing the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup cricket tournament in India after local broadcasters have failed to sign a broadcast deal for the TV rights.
The Age has confirmed FTA Networks, Seven Nine and Ten have opted not to bid for the tournament, while the Herald Sun has confirmed Fox Sports has also pulled out on negotiations with the Indian host broadcaster Star Sports.
It is understood Star Sports is demanding a hefty sum for the broadcast rights, a figure that all traditional Australian broadcasters have baulked at.
Further complicating negotiations is the fact that the Twenty20 World Cup has been included on the anti-siphoning list, meaning if Fox Sports did acquire rights to the tournament, it would be required under the legislation to negotiate a simulcast deal for all matches involving the Australian team, plus the Tournament Final match with one of the FTA broadcasters. The legislation would also require any FTA broadcaster that obtained the rights to transmit the Australian games and Final on its main channel.
The decision by Fox Sports not to pay the hefty price for the T20 World Cup comes after last years decision not to bid for the English Premier League. Optus paid $60 Million to secure the competition for three years, that figure was close to triple what Fox Sports had paid in the previous deal.
After investing huge sums of cash to secure the NRL and AFL competitions for the next 7 years, Fox Sports now has to be very strategic in how it spends it remaining broadcast budget.
With the tournament due to commence March 16th, the pressure is now on Cricket Australia to lobby the ICC and Star Sports for an outcome that will allow Australian fans access to the tournament.
Update 1pm Feb 25th - Despite initial reports that Fox Sports had withdrawn interest in the T20 World Cup, DeciderTV can confirm Foxtel is still conducting negotiations with Star Sports and cricket authorities. Stay Tuned.