The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 158

This week:

  • FairBreak on TV & why the ICC needs to intervene in the broadcast landscape
  • Australia’s pay rises & the importance of player associations effectively representing their women members
  • Will Phoebe Litchfield get to play in the Ashes?

2 thoughts on “The CRICKETher Weekly – Episode 158

  1. Reading English media about this pay deal, reactions range from applause for the support of female sport to angst, even anger, at the thought of further Australian dominance. Viewed from Australia, this deal is more about competing in a crowded national sporting landscape. The battle women’s cricket has with sports like the AFL, NRL, SS Netball for the hearts and minds of talented young women is more competitive than anything they face on the field. These sports compete at all levels, from development pathways for young players, to issues with injuries and health, wages and conditions and post career support. Now is a very good time to be a talented young sports woman in Australia.
    Netball use to be the preeminent female team sport, with a long history, strong established pathways and a national league (semi-pro) since the early 2000’s. It now has an 8-team fully professional league with squads of around 12 per team and average pay of around $70K, with international players earning a lot more. The SSN league attracts the best players from around the world, gets crowds of up to 10K for big games and every game is live on pay TV. Two English women, Geva Mentor and Jo Harten have earnt enough money playing here to buy properties in Australia. A new pay deal is due shortly, it will be under pressure to compete.
    Australian football (not soccer) is likely to become the biggest female sport in Australia. The male game has existed for over 100 years and the 18-team national league has average attendances of 35K per game (more than the EPL). It is Australia’s most popular sport and the AFL recently signed a streaming deal worth around 5 billion dollars.
    The women’s league is lining up for their 8th season, the second with all 18 teams. An AFLW list has 34 players, who earn between 50 and 100K a season, given the new TV deal women’s pay is likely to double. That means around 600 women (on the 18 team lists) will potentially be earning between $50K and $200K. While AFLW pay is not as high at the top end as cricket or other sports, the sheer size of the playing group ensures talented girls an opportunity and attracts many young players. Cricket has already lost Jess Cameron and about half a dozen WNCL level players to the code. Irish Gaelic football (a similar sport) now has thirty of its best players on AFLW lists. I assume soccer has this effect in other countries.
    Sports like soccer, basketball, rugby league and union are also competing in this environment, but at the moment to earn at the top level in these sports requires a move overseas.
    This deal will mean the female cricketers in Australia will be earning more than other local team sports. Given CA/WBBL/WNCL/WPL contracts, match payments and various sponsorships Ash Gardner must be close to being the first million (AUS) dollar a year female cricketer, a landmark point in the evolution of the female game in Australia.
    The only downside to all of this is that the level of support women get in Australia is such that it contributes to an international dominance that is making it a less attractive game within Australia, ironic hey?
    Is English cricket similarly competing with sports like soccer and rugby?


    • Thanks for all the info.

      Cricket is mainly competing with football (soccer) in terms of team sports at the moment. (Rugby and netball do offer professional opportunities, but much more limited.)

      The comparisons with soccer have been upended slightly by the WPL salaries – Nat Sciver will almost certainly be the best paid team-sport athlete in the UK this year – but more generally, football is better-paid. There significantly more footballers than cricket players earning £100k+ – numbers that cricket will probably never be able to match, if we are honest and realistic. (Same in the men’s game – a squad player in the Premier League earns significantly more than any “domestic” pro cricketer.)


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