Seven, CA talk up Test cricket TV ratings

Australia celebrates a Mitchell Starc wicket on day one of the first Test against India in Adelaide.
Australia celebrates a Mitchell Starc wicket on day one of the first Test against India in Adelaide.

The new era of cricket broadcasting in Australia has begun with solid ratings for the Seven Network and Fox Sports on day one of the first Test against India.

Seven attracted an average of 414,000 metro viewers across Thursday's three sessions, peaking at 544,000 in the final session, Mumbrella reported.

The national audience for the third session at Adelaide Oval, including regional viewers, was 773,000. A further 214,000 tuned in for the session on Fox Cricket.

While the free-to-air figures are well down from the first Test against India in 2014, the reach is boosted by the addition of subscription and online streaming viewers.

Seven, who along with Fox Sports took over the rights from the Nine Network under a landmark $1.182 billion, six-year broadcast rights deal, claimed to have "comfortably surpassed" internal forecasts.

CA trumpeted a combined national reach of 3,446,000, a figure which counts all viewers tuning in for at least five minutes of coverage on either network.

"The numbers are still being put together, but we do know we reached 3.4 million Australians through the day," CA chief executive Kevin Roberts told SEN radio.

"The third session went particularly well. I'm sure there were many, many Indians tuning in in different parts of the world as well."

The overall ratings are certain to have been substantially higher had the Test been played under lights in line with the previous three Adelaide fixtures.

Roberts said India's refusal to play a pink-ball Test in Adelaide had diluted crowd numbers by about 15,000 people.

Australian Associated Press