Cricket Australia says it will “vigorously defend itself” after Seven Network launched new legal proceedings against the company in an attempt to tear up its $450 million TV rights deal.
In another dramatic escalation of tensions between the parties, Seven goes to federal court, alleging “multiple CA quality and standard violations” in the six-year rights agreement.
“It is Seven’s intention to terminate the MRA (Media Rights Agreement), provided that the Federal Court issues a statement that Seven is entitled to do so,” Seven said in a statement seen by AAP news agency.
“Seven reserves the right to waive this condition.
“The action for damages is not conditional.
“Seven will continue to fulfill its obligations under the MRA (in terms of telecasting testing and BBL etc.) until terminated.
“Seven has followed the informal dispute settlement procedure under the MRA, but the procedure has not resolved the dispute.”
The Seven Network has filed another lawsuit against Cricket Australia in a bid to break its $450 million TV rights deal. Source: MONKEY † Andrew Henshaw
Seven has broadcast Test cricket in Australia, Big Bash League (BBL) action and women’s internationals since 2018, when they secured the rights to CA’s long-standing free-to-air partner, the Nine Network.
The network is still happy with its broadcasts of Test cricket, but is not satisfied with the drastic drop in the BBL’s standards.
CA has been desperately trying to revive the BBL in a bid to bring the Twenty20 competition back to its glory days.
Club ownership remains a key issue in the BBL, with both Cricket NSW and Queensland supporting the private ownership movement this week.
CA has responded by claiming that the last two seasons have been successful despite “the enormous challenges posed by the global pandemic”.
“In the circumstances, CA is surprised that Seven has taken this unwarranted action which will be vigorously defended,” said a statement from CA.
CA remains immensely proud of the efforts of the Australian cricket family, including players, match officials, sponsors, stadium managers, host governments, staff and volunteers whose hard work, dedication and expertise have enabled us to deliver two exceptional cricket seasons in unprecedented circumstances.”
The federal court paperwork was first filed by Seven v. CA in 2020, with the parties regularly trading public barbs.
Seven West Media executive James Warburton once stated that CA was “the most incompetent administration” he has ever worked with.
AAP understands that court proceedings will begin early next year, well after the busy summer of cricket has begun.