Usman Khawaja of the Thunder walks off the field after being caught out during the Big Bash League (BBL) cricket match between the Brisbane Heat and the Sydney Thunder at the Gabba in Brisbane, Tuesday, December 17, 2019. (AAP Image/Albert Perez) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTE
Usman Khawaja of the Thunder walks off the field after being caught out during the Big Bash League (BBL) cricket match between the Brisbane Heat and the Sydney Thunder at the Gabba in Brisbane, Tuesday, December 17, 2019. (AAP Image/Albert Perez) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY, IMAGES TO BE USED FOR NEWS REPORTING PURPOSES ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE WHATSOEVER, NO USE IN BOOKS WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTE

Big Bash League’s $30m DRS roadblock

Cricket Australia faces a $30 million bill if it wants to introduce DRS to the Big Bash.

Unless TV rights holders can be convinced to pay the exorbitant cost, this is the mega charge that could await administrators should they choose to make umpiring foolproof.

A couple of early-season howlers from officials has prompted Australian Twenty20 captain Aaron Finch and the majority of BBL coaches to call for administrators to adopt DRS to enhance the credibility of the competition.

However, the push could hit a major snag when the question comes to, who pays?

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Usman Khawaja was thankful for a bad call against Brisbane in the BBL opener.
Usman Khawaja was thankful for a bad call against Brisbane in the BBL opener.

 

It's a major point of contention for broadcasters in international cricket around the world that rights holders are expected to pay the millions required to run and operate what is in essence the International Cricket Council's decision review system.

Fox Cricket and Channel 7 fund the use of DRS for all Tests and limited overs internationals during the summer.

It's estimated that running DRS for the BBL and WBBL could cost anywhere between $7-10 million a season or approximately $30-40 million over the remaining four years of the current TV rights deal.

This includes costs which include equipment, crew, logistics and scaffolding at regional venues, while individual Hotspot cameras are themselves worth half a million dollars each - with four required per game.

 

Finch thinks the game needs DRS. Photo: AAP Image/Richard Wainwright
Finch thinks the game needs DRS. Photo: AAP Image/Richard Wainwright

 

 

Broadcasters would have reservations about reaching into its pockets again for an estimated $50,000 per BBL and WWBL game to bring in DRS.

It's in the broadcasters' interests to get umpiring decisions right, but CA would likely have to negotiate other concessions with Fox and Seven to make the enormous financial investment worthwhile when the networks have already committed $1.182 billion for the cricket rights.

"At the moment the broadcasters foot the bill for the DRS system," said head of Fox Cricket, Matt Weiss.

"With BBL/WBBL you are looking at 84 broadcast matches - in a tight schedule at venues in both cities and regional venues.

"The logistics with the facilities that would be involved cross crossing the country and expert crew would be a significant undertaking and very costly."

 

 

 

Channel 7 declined to comment.

The BBL would need access to at least three kits of Hotspot cameras, given the sheer number of matches and the logistical challenge of a schedule which requires moves like transferring from Alice Springs to the MCG on one day, and then having a double-header in two different cities the next.

Sydney BBL coaches, Shane Bond at the Thunder and Greg Shipperd at the Sixers both want introducing DRS made a priority.

"Last year there were a number of decisions that took away from the cricket," Bond told Foxsports.com.au.

"In our game, one ball can make a difference. I would like to take the pressure of the umpires and have a one challenge system."

 

 

 

Shipperd said it would enhance the spectacle and calibre of the BBL.

"It is a huge competition now and there is a lot riding on it for everybody," Shipperd told Foxsports.

"Everyone wants the contest to be as well administered as it can be. It would present another challenge to captains but add to the coverage and the spectacle."

News Corp Australia


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