James Sutherland. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
INVESTMENT bank Credit Suisse has been appointed to advise Cricket Australia on its broadcast rights negotiations in an effort to squeeze as much as possible out of the networks vying to win long-term coverage of the sport.
The new five-year domestic rights, tipped to be sold for upwards of $400 million, will be determined in the new year, with the existing major rights holder Channel Nine set to reach the end of its exclusive negotiating period on December 31 without an agreement with CA. The Australian Rugby League Commission hired the firm Greenhill Caliburn (now Greenhill & Co) en route to signing a new $1.025 billion TV deal in August.
CA head of media rights, Stephanie Beltrame, this month approached investment banks about coming on in an advisory capacity and Credit Suisse was hired last week. It has begun work with the CA media advisory group, which will assist CA chief executive James Sutherland and chairman Wally Edwards in dealing with Nine, Seven West Media and Network Ten.
''At the moment we are in an exclusive negotiating period with Channel Nine and we are negotiating in good faith with them,'' CA spokesman Peter Young said.
''But as a contingency, we've said what if we get into the new year and find ourselves in a position where we can be talking to the whole market, not just Channel Nine.
''The thinking was pretty simple: If we go through to December 31 and are able to sit down with other networks … it would be a useful idea to have really forensic expertise on board as we go through that process.''