In a rare show of bipartisanship, politicians from both sides of the ideological divide are going in to bat for the ABC to continue its 80-year unbeaten partnership with cricket’s governing body.
On Wednesday speculation swirled through the corridors of power the public broadcaster may be dumped in Cricket Australia’s latest radio deal, which is due to be announced in coming weeks.
It followed media reports the ABC, which has broadcast international cricket since the days of Don Bradman, would be dropped in favour of commercial radio stations.
The ABC’s love affair with the sound of leather hitting willow even stretches to its postal address, with the corporation’s national GPO Box number taken from Bradman’s batting average of 99.94.
Federal Sports Minister and Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie was quick to voice her support.
— Senator Bridget McKenzie (@senbmckenzie) June 14, 2018
Labor’s regional communications spokesman Stephen Jones was more explicit.
This is bullshit. These guys have no judgement https://t.co/dAPNjIPeZF
— Stephen Jones MP (@StephenJonesMP) June 14, 2018
In a statement, Cricket Australia said media speculation about the ABC being excluded from cricket broadcasting was “incorrect”.
“We are currently finalising our media rights negotiation and are comfortable with this process,” a spokesman said.
“An announcement on these rights will be made in due course.”
ABC management also responded, saying the public broadcaster was in the final stages of negotiations and was happy with how talks were progressing.
In April, Cricket Australia signed a new $1.2 billion television rights deal with the Seven Network and Fox Sports for the next six years.
It ended the Nine Network’s 40-year run broadcasting international cricket.