The ABC commentary team may be gone, and David Warner will join the roster at Channel 9. Photo: AAP
The ABC commentary team may be gone, and David Warner will join the roster at Channel 9. Photo: AAP

80-year cricket tradition killed off

CRICKET Australia is closing in on a new deal for the radio media rights and it looks like tradition could be taking a back seat.

After enjoying an 80-year partnership, it has been reported CA could be set to exclude the ABC from the broadcast rights, according to Wide World of Sports.

The shock report lead to a chorus of outcry from fans of the game who have grown up listening to the call.

Craig Hutchinson's Crocmedia company is believed to be the favourite to claim the rights with Macquarie Media also atop the list.

ABC's broadcast currently services regional areas of Australia and with the new deal set to be in place for six-years, the hold up in the announcement is believed to be due to CA seeking assurances these could be handled.

The shock call would end a long-running partnership only months after the decision was made to cut ties with Channel 9 thanks to the new TV deal.

While no official confirmation had been announced the news of the split found a solid foundation thanks to Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.

"I heard a very interesting whisper yesterday," Eddie said on Triple M's The Hot Breakfast.

"There is some strong mail going around that the ABC may lose the cricket on the radio.

"It could go exclusively to Craig Hutchison's CrocMedia - it's a good deal if he gets it up."

Cricket Australia's negotiations suffered a blow in early May when Triple M sensationally pulled out of talks despite Southern Cross Austereo putting together a successful product over recent summers.

With the deal set to conclude prior to the end of the month, the backlash of the ABC's potential exclusion could force CA into a tricky situation.

CA ended its long association earlier this year with the Nine Network. It remains possible the governing body will do the same with the ABC, who have been broadcasting Tests since the 1934 Ashes, but negotiations are ongoing.

"We are currently finalising our radio rights negotiation … current media speculation is incorrect," a CA spokesman said.

The new radio rights are expected to cover the next six years, as was the case with the $1.2 billion deal that CA signed with the Seven Network and Fox Sports.

If the announcement comes that the ABC will no longer be a radio broadcaster for the cricket, the backlash will come in thick and fast.

- with AAP.

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