Amazon has secured exclusive Australian broadcast rights for all International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments from 2024 to 2027, meaning the both the national men and women’s teams World Cup defences will sit behind a paywall.
The deal sees Prime own the rights to broadcast men and women’s Cricket World Cups, T20 World Cups, Champions Trophy, Under 19s, and the World Test Championship Final in Australia.
Cricket Australia’s summer schedule will continue to be broadcast on Seven, Foxtel and its streaming service Kayo.
“We are always looking for ways to deliver more value to our customers and live sports is consistently one of their top requests,” head of Prime Video Australia and New Zealand Hushidar Kharas said in a statement.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer our customers the live broadcast of the Cricket World Cup included in their Prime membership.
“The Cricket World Cup is one of the most viewed sporting events in the world; the recently concluded edition was watched by hundreds of millions of people.”
Just two weeks ago, the Australian men’s team won an extraordinary late night ICC World Cup in India.
Foxtel and Kayo broadcast the entire tournament while Nine showed only the Australian matches.
It was the last time until at least 2028 that bleary-eyed punters will be able to watch Aussie cricketers perform on the biggest stage without forking out for a Prime subscription in what free-to-air lobbiest group Free TV said was a salient example of why Australia needs to update broadcast regulation for the streaming era.
“We have been saying for years that streaming giants would be coming for our sports rights here in Australia and the acquisition of World Cup cricket by Amazon just proves the point,” Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said in a statement.
“All Australians deserve the right to share our great sporting moments for free, and that right is in serious jeopardy.
“There is a real risk that more of our iconic sports events could be exclusively acquired by subscription streaming platforms that aren’t currently covered by the anti-siphoning rules.”
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland only last week introduced a bill to parliament seeking to expand anti-siphoning legislation to limit the ability for streaming platforms to dominate broadcast rights for “events of national importance and cultural significance”.
Even under a draft list of those events, however, Amazon would still have been able to snap up the ICC cricket rights since it only covers matches played in Australia.
By contrast, all FIFA World Cup soccer matches featuring an Australian team would be covered by the anti-siphoning rules.
“It might also be time to look at whether the limitation of cricket games on the list to those played in Australia or New Zealand is working for the Australian public," Fair said.
"We should be able to watch our national team play no matter where the game is taking place.“