Market doesn't understand 'magnitude of cricket', Worner says

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 22 August 2018
L to R: Ricky Ponting, Kurt Burnette, Glenn McGrath, Tim Worner, Mel McLaughlin and Dave Barham.

Seven West Media (SWM) CEO Tim Worner says the market "doesn't understand the magnitude" of the network's current cricket deal.

Speaking on a media call, Worner was questioned about the cost efficiency behind the cricket, after he announced that cost per hour, including production, would be cheaper than Seven's previous deals with Tennis Australia.

Earlier this year, the Seven Network and Foxtel snatched the media rights for cricket from Nine and Ten in a deal worth at least $1 billion over six years.

The deal sees Seven pick up domestic test matches, including one Ashes series, and the majority of the Big Bash League.

It will also see the launch of 'mega days', which will be 13 days of both test cricket and Big Bash, all on Seven's main channel.

"The market is yet to understand this deal, they tend to look at cricket and compare it to what Ten had or compare the cricket to what Nine had," he says.

"The real equation to look at is cricket versus what both Nine and Ten had combined, because that is what is going to be on Seven. "It's a huge amount of live sport and the cost per hour, including production, is well under that of tennis.

"Understand that Nine paid $60 million for two weeks."

Worner added that the deal was a "pivotal move" for the network and would provide, when combined with the AFL, more than 400 hours of sport.

He confirmed that Seven will now put "all of its weight" behind the cricket coverage, as the network remains confident it can secure a share of 40% or higher share of the commercial market over summer.

Speaking to AdNews, SWM chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette reiterated Worner's comments, adding there was still some duty from Seven to "educate" the market on how important this deal was.

"With the deals going down, there was still some confusion about who had what and how much," Burnette says.

"It became apparent that some people hadn't really quite grasped what the proposition was with regards to having Big Bash and Test together."

However, Burnette says a big contributor to this had been the lack of "precedent" for a deal of this size, adding that media buyers had now come to terms with exactly what this means for a summer media plan.

Burnette says the response from brands has also been strong, with Seven close to selling out of sponsorship spots throughout the summer of cricket, however, there are still ad spaces open during broadcast.

"There were no numbers to go to and say 'well this is how we will think it will perform', but we've made our forecast and we've done our analysis and that's what we've shared with the market," he says.

"But what became clear was there wasn't an understanding of the sheer magnitude of what it actually means as a major game changer in the media landscape."

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