Australia’s World Test Championship final against India will be broadcast exclusively on Seven, the network announced today.
In a coup for Australian viewers, the one-off Test match on neutral turf at The Oval in south London from June 7 will be shown live and free on Seven, and streamed on the network’s digital service, 7plus.
The final, scheduled over five days but with a reserve day available, will start at 10am local time, meaning a 7pm start for Australia’s eastern seaboard, and 5pm for Perth viewers.
The previous WTC final in 2021, when New Zealand beat India, was shown on Foxtel and Kayo Sports, which has long held the vast majority of broadcast rights for foreign cricket.
Seven will take the ICC-produced ‘world feed’ for the event from The Oval with a yet-to-be confirmed commentary roster tipped to include the likes of Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist.
If that comes to pass it would be the first time Ponting and Gilchrist have shared a commentary booth since they were part of the Ten network’s Big Bash coverage between 2013 and 2017.
Australia’s Test squad are expected to assemble in the UK on May 29, nine days ahead of the final.
In a sign of further fragmentation of the broadcast market for Australian cricket this year, the men’s and women’s Ashes tours of the UK that follow the WTC final will be broadcast on the Nine Network.
Despite losing domestic broadcast rights for Australian cricket in 2018, Nine has continued its association with the ECB to screen Ashes tours, striking a deal for the 2023 tour back in mid-2020.
The Ashes Tests in the UK remain part of Australia’s ‘anti-siphoning’ legislation, after the existing list was last week rolled over by the federal government.
The list – officially known as the Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice – ensures certain significant sports events are shown on free-to-air rather than pay television.
It was due to expire on April 1, but was extended by federal Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland last week, without any changes, for a further three years.
“Review of the anti-siphoning scheme is a priority for the Government in 2023 and is being progressed as part of a broader package of reforms to support a strong and vibrant media sector,” Minister Rowland said in a statement.
Seven’s deal to screen the WTC final comes with the International Cricket Council still in negotiations for an Australian broadcast partner for all of it events, which include men’s and women’s one-day and T20 World Cups as well as men’s 50-over Champions Trophy tournaments and the World Test Championship finals.
The ICC is working directly with broadcasters for the first time, with negotiations over rights for women’s events a key part of the discussions for the rights to be sold in either a four-year or eight-year block from 2024.
The ICC, which had been keeping an eye on progress on the anti-siphoning list review, is hoping to finalise negotiations in April, and is understood to have attracted interest from traditional free-to-air broadcasters looking to leverage their streaming platforms, as well as subscription players such as Foxtel, Google and Amazon, who have partnered with CA on producing two seasons of The Test documentary.
Seven securing digital rights for the WTC final on its 7plus streaming platform comes after the network added streaming rights to its stable when it and the Foxtel Group extended their broadcast agreement with Cricket Australia earlier this year.
Under that arrangement, Foxtel and Seven secured a seven-year deal from 2024-2031 worth $1.512 billion to cover all men’s and women’s bilateral internationals played in Australia, as well as the Big Bash competitions.
Meanwhile, Sky Sports, the host broadcaster for this winter’s Ashes series, has confirmed a 21-member strong commentary crew for the men’s and women’s Ashes series.
Ponting will be heard on Nine as part of Sky’s commentary crew for the men’s Ashes, along with long-time Nine stalwart Mark Taylor, and Mel Jones. They will be joined by England’s Nasser Hussain and Mike Atherton, as well as Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen and Mark Butcher. Internationals Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Karthik will also be involved with highly rated broadcaster Ian Ward leading the team.
For the women’s Ashes, Jones will be the sole Australian representative on the crew, along with Isa Guha who has been a regular on Aussie screens with Fox in recent summers, as well as Charlotte Edwards, Lydia Greenway and Lauren Winfield-Hill, among others.
2023 Qantas Ashes Tour of the UK
First Test: Friday June 16-Tuesday June 20, Edgbaston
Second Test: Wednesday June 28-Sunday July 2, Lord’s
Third Test: Thursday July 6-Monday July 10, Headingley
Fourth Test: Wednesday July 19-Sunday July 23, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: Thursday July 27-Monday 31, The Oval
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