Wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy joined the fans and the supporters in voicing her disappointment after it came to light that there won’t be any free-to-air broadcaster in Australia for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2022. The official broadcaster Channel 9, on Sunday (January 26), confirmed that the men’s global events – T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia as well as ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 in India – will be televised on free-to-air channels, but the Women’s World Cup in New Zealand starting from March won’t be available for general public viewing.
“I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a step backwards because the matches will still be televised, but I think it’s a bit of a slap in the face to say that we are not commercially viable,” Healy told the reporters talking about the issue. "That someone doesn't want to stick their hand up and say, 'we are going to put this on the telly so that everyone can watch it'. It's a little bit hard to take in that regard."
"Not having it on free-to-air excludes a fair chunk of our population who don't want to pay or can't afford to pay for subscription TV. With fans (being) unable to travel, viewership is probably more relevant than bums on seats right now.”
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Australia vice-captain Rachael Haynes echoed her team-mate’s sentiment and talked the importance of visibility for female athletes.
“It sends a really powerful message to see our female athletes have an opportunity to share in the spotlight," Haynes said during the media interaction. "The visibility is extremely important. I am disappointed it's not on free-to-air TV in Australia."
As per the reports, Foxtel, who will simulcast the events, will offer the World Cup stream for free on their app Kayo Freebies. Although there is no free-to-air television for the matches as of now, fans in Australia will be able to watch all the games from the global tournament on the app.
Australia are currently playing the mutli-format Ashes series at home and leading England by 4-2 after two of the T20I matches were washed out. They will start their World Cup campaign on March 5 where they will once again face their arch rivals, who are currently the defending champions having won the World Cup at home in 2017.