Broadcaster offers help in team selection, Cricket Australia politely declines

Only three weeks after Channel Nine and Cricket Australia sealed their new $450 million deal, The Age is reporting that a leading Nine executive has told a business lunch in Sydney that the network expected to have a greater say not only in scheduling but in team selection, while Cricket Australia has moved to deny that the broadcaster will have any influence on the team list.

After being pushed to its financial limits to keep the cricket following stiff competition from Network Ten, The Age is also reporting Nine has been keen to increase its influence on the scheduling of Test matches and other internationals during the Australian summer.

A priority for the network will be to ensure the first Test of the summer is switched from Brisbane to Perth and the western time zone to boost prime-time viewing on the east coast, the paper says.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland told The Age that Nine would not have any say in the make-up of national teams. The relationship, which secured the network retention of the coverage of international cricket in Australia for the next five years, is already beginning to cause tension.

“Cricket has a long-standing and successful relationship with the Nine Network but team selections and scheduling are matters for Cricket Australia,” Sutherland told The Age

“The national selection panel selects the Australian teams. With the volume of international cricket being played, it will continue to be necessary for us to manage player workloads appropriately. We’ll continue to consult with our broadcasters on scheduling issues.

“It’s something we have always done. We have a common goal with our broadcast partners to maximise the number of fans watching and enjoying cricket. We’ll consider all ideas and then make the appropriate decisions.”

The schedule for the Ashes series this summer has already been set but Nine will be pushing to  have the schedules altered for next year.