The Ashes cricket row has just become more interesting and the Nine Network’s day has just been made that much blacker.

After copping a pounding in the ratings last night from Seven’s rampant Desperate Housewives and a weak effort from the Oscars, Nine now has lost any chance of showing the One Day Internationals involving the Australian cricket team in England this winter.

SBS may have won the rights to telecast the tests (except for one session in one test because of the Tour De France), but the Seven Network this afternoon sprung a major shock by snapping up the free to air rights to the ODIs.

The Seven telecasts will almost coincide with the start of the legal action it launched against News, PBL, Telstra and Foxtel over the ending of Seven’s pay TV ambitions in sport. That case is due to start on July 18 and the FTA broadcasts this winter could also be seen as pressuring Nine over the rights to all cricket matches in Australia that are to be negotiated this year.

Seven said in a statement this afternoon that “the agreement between Seven and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was finalised this morning, Australian time.”

Announcing the agreement in London, Seven’s Head of Sport, Mr Saul Shtein, said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the ECB to bring Australians free to air television coverage of our team’s one-day campaign in England.”

Seven CEO David Leckie said the network’s coverage commence on Monday 13 June with live primetime coverage of England vs. Australia in the NatWest International Twenty20 match at the Rose Bowl ground in Southern England.

Seven will then cover The NatWest Series – with coverage focusing on Australia’s one day matches against England and Bangladesh. To cap off the one day international series, Seven will then cover the three one-day internationals involving England and Australia in The NatWest Challenge.

“Seven and SBS have stepped up on this occasion and will deliver the Ashes test series and one-day series to all Australians – not only the 23 per cent of people who subscribe to pay television,” Mr Leckie said.

So the great Ashes cricket telecast row has ended with everyone involved sort of getting what they wanted.

Terry Television has a full report on the site here:

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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