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Channel Seven entitled to tiny rights discount, arbitrator finds, amid Cricket Australia dispute

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A strong season of ratings for the Australia-India series and BBL appears to have weakened the position of the free-to-air network

Seven West Media are entitled to a broadcast rights fee discount of as little as A$5 million from Cricket Australia due to changes in the schedule due to Covid-19, according to the independent arbitrator demanded by the free-to-air network.

In a draft outcome understood to have been delivered to the warring parties on Tuesday night, the arbitrator Justin Jameson, of Venture Consulting, concluded that Seven should get only a tiny portion of the A$70 million reduction the debt-laden network had been chasing. The figure would rise to around A$8 million if the rescheduled Test match between Australia and Afghanistan does not go ahead next summer prior to the Ashes.

While Jameson’s formal finding is still to be tabled, the heads-up was a source of some relief to CA, after an ugly and protracted campaign by Seven for massive cuts to their A$82 million-a-year share of the A$1.18 billion deal signed alongside Foxtel in April 2018.

Led by their chief executive James Warburton, Seven have mounted all manner of arguments for a greater discount, from complaints about the quality of the BBL to allegations of a vast conspiracy between CA, the BCCI and Foxtel to move this summer’s limited-overs fixtures from January to November.

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ESPNcricinfo is a sports news website exclusively for the game of cricket. The site features news, articles, live coverage of cricket matches, and StatsGuru, a database of historical matches and players from the 18th century to the present. As of March 2018, Sambit Bal was the editor.

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