Channel 7, which is one of the broadcasters for the India-Australia Test series is left unpleasant with the Cricket Australia (CA) after Indian captain, Virat Kohli has pulled out of the last three Test matches.
Kohli is granted paternity leave by the BCCI to return home as he and wife, Anushka Sharma is expecting their first child in early January. Kohli will play all the six white-ball games and the first Test in Adelaide, which is an advantage to Channel 7’s rival, Fox Sports.
Channel 7, a free-to-air broadcast, holds the rights for the four-match Test series while Fox Sports, which is a pay channel, has the rights to broadcast the two white-ball series in addition to the red-ball series.
There is already a dispute going on between Channel 7 and CA over a $450 million deal, and this incident is just adding more fuel to it. The dispute was a result of the change in the order and timing of the white-ball and red-ball series as demanded by the BCCI.
Networks have based their summer promotion on Virat Kohli
Chairman of Seven West Media, a company that owns Channel 7, Kerry Stokes said that they are having disputes with the board. He feels that the broadcaster has paid a lot of money and will not receive the quality of the product as expected, and has been provided with no sort of compensation.
Kerry Stokes was quoted by The Age as saying, “It is outside the oval and at the administrative offices where we have some issues. The company paid a lot of money – a record amount of money – for a quality product and that hasn’t been delivered to us, and nor have they offered us anything in return to make up for what they haven’t delivered, and will continue to push your company’s rights to achieve a fair outcome.”
The report also said that there are only a few athletes with bigger brand value than Virat Kohli, such as footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball superstar LeBron James. Therefore, Virat Kohli’s presence on the field in every game was a major promotion factor for the broadcaster.
It added that both the networks have had the India skipper as their in the center of their plans and will have to alter advertisements for the last three Tests- including an important Boxing day Test at the MCG.
The report stated, “Football superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball icon LeBron James are the only international athletes on earth with a bigger marketing and social media footprint than ‘King Kohli’, and his ‘limited time only’ summer has now put a premium on every game he plays on Fox.”
“Both networks have based their summer promotion almost entirely on Kohli, and while Channel 7 will now have to re-cut their advertising to reflect the fact he’s missing the last three Tests, including Boxing Day,” it added.
After the conclusion of the IPL, the Indian team left for Australia and have arrived in Sydney where they will have to go under quarantine before resuming practice.
The 3 ODI series begins on 27th November followed by 3 T20Is, before the high-voltage Test series commences on 17th December with a pink-ball Test in Adelaide.