Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein has rejected Seven Network claims that Cricket Australia was paid to bring Big Bash games to the island state.
In an affidavit submitted to the Federal Court, Seven’s managing director Lewis Martin said he believed CA would only have chosen to play eight of the first 12 games in Tasmania if financially incentivised.
Martin said he had told Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson that Hobart was the least preferred city for Seven to cover games from.
The claims form part of Seven’s application to view emails between CA, the BCCI, pay-TV broadcasters Foxtel and state governments.
“CA scheduling the playing of eight of the first 12 Men’s BBL Matches in Tasmania in two relatively small and unheralded stadia … would be commercially irrational,” Martin said in the affidavit seen by AAP.
“Unless CA were otherwise incentivised, presumably by arrangement with the Government of Tasmania, to do so.
“In the 2019-2020 Men’s BBL Tournament, only one of the first 12 Men’s BBL Matches was played in Tasmania.”
Eight matches will be played at Hobart’s Test ground Blundstone Arena in the tournament, while two will be played at University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston.
In the affidavit, Martin claimed it showed CA had put the Tasmanian government before Seven, and a requirement to place matches at a high-quality venue.
However, Premier Gutwein denied any such suggestion on Tuesday night, in a statement provided to the Hobart Mercury.
“We are thrilled to host the ten world-class games, which is a huge win for Tasmanians and puts our state on a global stage,” he said.
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“The Tasmanian Government continues to provide funding to Cricket Tasmania to support cricket development and the hosting of Big Bash League and Women’s Big Bash League matches in the state.
“But there were no incentive payments made.”
The claims were the latest in an ongoing and public feud between the sport and its free-to-air broadcaster.
CA also maintain they have done nothing wrong legally and have fulfilled their six-year $450 million contract with Seven.