Cricket TV rights tensions ignite over stars’ Xmas holiday

    The Melbourne Stars have rested superstar Marcus Stoinis and former World Cup Australian ace Nathan Coulter-Nile for Monday night’s grudge game against the Sydney Sixers at the SCG so they could spend time in their home town Perth for Christmas.The decision to “manage” the big name pair raised eyebrows at both Channel 7 and Fox Sports, particularly given the Stars’ and the BBL’s headline act Glenn Maxwell is already sidelined through injury.Without Stoinis and Coulter-Nile in the line-up, the Stars called in James Seymour and Liam Hatcher for their first matches of the season.Trent Boult, Adam Zampa and Hilton Cartwright were left as the only household names in the Stars’ line-up.Neither Channel 7 or Channel 9 have shown a huge amount of interest in the Big Bash rights, and it’s the main reason why CA is struggling to bridge the gap between Paramount’s blockbuster $1.5 million offer and rival bids from the other networks.It’s understood the Stars’ decision to let Coulter-Nile miss the match is part of a longstanding plan to manage his workload given his history of injury trouble, and was one of the reasons why the club prioritised signing Kiwi quick Boult.Stoinis hails from Perth and was given leave by the club to spend an extra day with his family in the west before returning to Stars’ camp.Fox Sports have largely been happy with the start to the Big Bash season, with an improved quality in matches and a concerted effort from CA powerbrokers to get big names playing.However, the decision to let Stoinis and Coulter-Nile have a rest only a couple of weeks into the competition hurts the BBL’s reputation at a time when CA is desperately trying to convince broadcasters it’s a top line league worth investing in.Cricket Australia is set to slash the number of Big Bash matches under the new rights deal after years’ of pressure from broadcasters and senior players.However, some leading figures in the Australian game disagree with the plan to cut up to 20 matches from the schedule, bemoaning the opportunities such a move would take away from young players trying to make a name for themselves in professional cricket.

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