Global investment bank UBS has urged Nine to sort itself a better broadcasting deal with Cricket Australia or drop its interest entirely.
UBS media analyst Eric Choi wrote to clients, “The existing cricket deal costs Nine circa $100 million per annum.
“We estimate the existing deal likely only generates gross revenues of $60-$70 million.
“We think it would seem logical for Nine to enter negotiations with the following mindset: i) More cricket content at no additional cost, or ii) to step away from the cricket contract.”
But Nine’s links with Cricket are historic, dating back to Kerry Packer’s revolutionary move in the 1970s.
It doesn’t want less Cricket. It wants more, especially given the lure of Sport in attracting Live Free to Air viewers.
“We want Test matches, we want one-dayers, we want Twenty20s and we want the Big Bash,” Nine’s Head of of Sport Tom Malone has previously said.
However TEN’s precarious financial position may prove fortuitous timing for Nine.
In 2013 Nine paid nearly $500 million for a five-year deal for international cricket while TEN paid just $20 million for the Big Bash League. Given TEN’s success with the latter the next round of rights are set for a lift at a time when it is staring down a looming deadline on its $200m loan.
Cricket Australia indicated it was confident of attracting interest for its 2018-2023 rights.
Nine declined to comment.