SEVEN to cover Australia's one-day International Cricket Series in England

01 Mar 2005, 11:20:10 AM

The Seven Network today secured the free to air broadcast television rights to Australia's forthcoming one day international cricket programme in England.

The agreement between Seven and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was finalised this morning, Australian time. Announcing the agreement in London, Seven's Head of Sport, Mr Saul Shtein, said: "We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the ECB to bring Australians free to air television coverage of our team's one-day campaign in England".

Commenting, the Chief Executive Officer, Broadcast Television, Seven Network Limited, Mr David Leckie, said: "Today's agreement is great news for Australian cricket fans, we also congratulate SBS on their securing of the free-to-air television rights for the Ashes test series."

We look forward to renewing our terrific working relationship with SBS following the success of our partnership for the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad in Athens.”

Coverage of the Ashes test series and one-day series was almost lost to free-to-air television viewers this year, and Mr Leckie today called on the Australian Government to address – as a matter of urgency – the loophole in anti-siphoning rules that places coverage of major sports events at significant risk.

“Seven and SBS have stepped up on this occasion and will deliver the Ashes test series and one-day series to all Australians – not only the 23 per cent of people who subscribe to pay television,” Mr Leckie said.

“This obvious defect in the anti-siphoning regulations must be fixed immediately. The government in Australia needs to urgently close this loophole to ensure that coverage of future sports events are not at risk of being siphoned off exclusively to pay television.”

Seven's coverage commence on Monday 13 June with live primetime coverage of England v Australia in the NatWest International Twenty20 match @ Rose Bowl. Seven then moves to The NatWest Series - with coverage focusing on Australia's one day matches against England and Bangladesh. And to cap off the one day international series, Seven then takes on the three one-day internationals involving England and Australia in The NatWest Challenge.

Mr Leckie said: “Seven has gone to great lengths to secure this event for our viewers. As sports fans know, Seven has a long-standing commitment to coverage of the Wallabies' rugby union test campaign this winter. This commitment presents only a minor scheduling hurdle on one night (July 2) – where we will be broadcasting a rugby test live in Sydney and Brisbane only, with the rest of the country taking the complete cricket coverage.”

Commenting, Mr Shtein said: "Seven - with its coverage of the Olympic Games, the Rugby World Cup, the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open - is recognised as one of the world leaders in event sports television and we are happy that we have the opportunity to broadcast to all Australians on free-to-air television what will undoubtedly be a great sports event.”