Cricket Australia Gets $574 Million From Broadcast Rights Sale

Cricket Australia said it will reap A$590 ($574 million) over the next five years from the sale of domestic broadcasting rights to Nine Entertainment Co. and Ten Network Holdings Ltd. (TEN)

Nine, owned by Apollo Global Management LLC (APO) and Oaktree Capital Group LLC (OAK), will pay A$450 million in cash and advertising and promotional rights to retain elite Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20 matches, Cricket Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland said. Ten Network agreed to pay A$100 million a year in cash and advertising for the rights to the domestic Big Bash Twenty20 competition, he added.

Nine will also enter a joint partnership with Melbourne-based Cricket Australia to develop digital broadcasting assets. Sutherland said the new agreements represented a year-on-year average increase of 118 percent on the governing body’s previous broadcasting arrangements and would allow it to invest in cricket from the grassroots up.

“How we spend the revenue is as important as the revenue itself,” Sutherland said today at a televised news conference in Melbourne. “Seventy-five percent of our spend will be on fans, teams and participation.”

Nine had the right to match any rival bid for the rights to Australia’s home Test and limited-overs games under its previous accord. The agreement will extend the cricket’s presence on Channel Nine to almost 40 years since Kerry Packer secured the rights to broadcast Australia’s international matches in the late 1970s.

“There was never any doubt that Channel Nine was not going to get the cricket,” Nine CEO David Gyngell said at the news conference. “As long as the management team we’ve got are at Channel Nine we won’t be losing cricket. It is Australia’s national game and is wallpaper over summer. It is a much bigger sport than the ratings always say it is.”

Ten months ago, Nine and pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports agreed to pay A$1.02 billion to broadcast Australian rugby league games over five years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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