We didn’t see this coming when the Seven Network said yesterday about Michael Slater’s services ahead of this upcoming 2021/22 season’s Test & Big Bash League coverage, the result is he won’t be back which is a relief for most fans who weren’t happy with his over the top commentary on social media.
This isn’t the reason why Seven flogged him & nor does his public rant against the Australian Prime Minister (Scott Morrison) over the country’s COVID travel policy on India as they enjoyed every minute with Slater, but the current free to air rights holder just couldn’t have the funds to keep him when he was at the end of his contract which is reasonable to go in separate ways.
It’s sad not to see him back behind the commentary box this summer after spending about 15 years since Slater first joined the Nine Network back in 2006, he stayed there until Nine lost the rights to Seven in 2018 & Seven later acquired him to continue commentating for the next three seasons, although it doesn’t mean he’s out of a job as Slater will continue to commentate cricket overseas for most of every year.
So that means Shane Warne is the only remaining voice from the former Channel 9 commentary crew to still be present on Fox Cricket who are one of the current two right holders for home Internationals & domestic matches, while Seven doesn’t have any members now from that old tribe following the axing of Slater and the rest have moved onto other gigs elsewhere or retirement.
It’ll be interesting to see how these cricket fans will react without Slater on Channel 7 this summer especially when England visit Australia ahead of the upcoming home Ashes tour before there’s a huge debate in 2024 once the current cricketing broadcast rights expire & go up for renewal.
It has been a great summer of cricket this season in Australia. With the off season of NASCAR approaches its finish line. Before the race cars return in 9 days at Daytona.
Late October-November was the month of the Women’s Big Bash League. Follows the Australia v India white ball series in late November-early December. Before the intense four-match Tests until the decider was made two weeks ago. And we are on the pointy end of the T20 Big Bash.
Despite the valuable offering Cricket Australia has showcased. And the test ratings even without Indian superstar Virat Kohli. There is still one party left unsatisfied. That is Channel 7 who currently holds the free to air rights.
They are on their third of sixth year contract since 18’. As they are contracted with Cricket Australia to cover the home games. Before entering a fourth with two years remaining by the start of next season. When the home five-match Ashes Test tour v England will take place.
Now the option to tear up its contact is still there. Seven hoped to have the solitary test v Afghanistan before the white ball leg. Not only COVID scrapped this one. But the value of the Big Bash was lost by a lack of star names. Plus natural venues & decline of crowds.
And Seven has not forgiven Cricket Australia about this. So does the Indian Cricket Board. In which is why they have put their claims to the courtroom. Seven wants to see the documentation made by Foxtel, CA & BCCI. So they know why the advantage over 7 to change these dates.
But Seven still loves the game though when it comes to the athleticism. And the talent involved. Especially when the red ball game provides top tier value for entertainment. So they hope to at least hang on this format that served so well.
They just wanted a discount to cover some losses caused by COVID. Before just running down the last two years of the current deal. And maybe Seven wants the Tennis back. As well as the NRL/State of Origin. Since they are fed up with CA which is the only party batting against.
While 7 may have talked so highly about the Tests. They have viewed the BBL as the contrary. Where the games have expanded a lot. As well as a lack of star power & crowds. Unlike Network 10 who turned this format from out of nowhere.
That channel have everything as the exclusive partner to turn around. Such as making the BBL family friendly & make every game available on TV. Sorted out decent on-air staff. And shortened the games in the extended school holidays.
The former BBL rights holder would be glad right now. When the BBL value has fallen since they left. Made money via I’m a Celebrity get me out of here! Where the show runs for 4 weeks. In which is the best practice to make any product simpler & better. Rather than long & complicated.
Seven hoped to carry this legacy off Network 10. As well as Foxtel who did not complain a single thing. But not the way how it was handled these days. And they wanted to get rid of it immediately. Even before COVID. They tried to ask 10 to air the BBL again. But 10 said they will only do so if Foxtel can give up altogether.
That will not happen anytime soon unfortunately. Not even the current state of this cricket contract. Regardless of the saga result from Seven & CA. What Seven can do is offer all of their BBL games back to Foxtel. And transfer the Seven games on their Kayo freebies platform. But some people do not have the technology to make email accounts. Before watching it.
Will Foxtel accept this gamble pay off remains to be seen. If they are to buy the “Seven” games at least put it live for free via social media. And YouTube like Optus Sport does with the UEFA Champions/Europa League. Should Seven get what they want in court or rip out this contract.
And if Seven does walk away CA will have to find a new broadcaster. While 10 would want the whole lot. Channel 9 would like to return covering Tests. Despite having the current Tennis rights. But it would have to be on a reduced rate. Before any deal can be done with streaming involved.