Cricket Australia says it could take A$120m hit this summer

MELBOURNE: Cricket Australia has revealed it could be burdened with lost revenue and added costs of up to A$120 million in a COVID-impacted summer in which it also remains in a financial fight with a host broadcaster, Australian media has reported.

The sport's governing body confirmed a net deficit of A$45.9 million at its annual general meeting on Thursday.

"As all would be aware, we are facing some significant financial exposures in FY21 as a result of the impacts of COVID. These fall into three categories: impacts to match-day revenues associated with crowd restrictions and some reduced content; impact to other revenue streams arising from the broader economic environment; and additional biosecurity costs associated with hosting the season in a COVID environment. Based on current estimates, these factors could have a financial cost to cricket of up to $120 million in FY21,”  CA director Paul Green is quoted as having said at the AGM.

There could be more financial fallout, for CA remains at disagreement with broadcasters Seven West Media and, to a lesser extent, Foxtel. Seven is seeking a significant reduction in its A$75 million per year cash fee, and has taken CA to the Australian Chamber for International and Commercial Arbitration for an independent assessment. CA had offered a cut of about 20 per cent on this year's rights but Seven, with four years to run on its deal, wants a far greater reduction. It argues the quality of cricket this summer, particularly in the BBL, is not what it expected, coming after a drop in attendance and ratings last summer. CA has yet to release a revised BBL fixture with the teams in hubs, but expects to do so within weeks.

The annual report also showed a cash balance at June 30 of A$35 million as well as investments including cash of A$38 million. The A$73 million in total reserves has dipped from the A$116 million posted in mid-2019.