The Champions League Twenty20 tournament began in India overnight with qualifying matches taking place to decide the last spots in the main draw. The T20 tournament pits the best T20 teams from around the world against each other with the tournament proper beginning on Thursday. Australian teams have previously won the tournament on two occasions.
A total of 29 matches will be played in the tournament, with the teams playing for a total prize money pool of US$6 million and the winning team collecting US$2.5 million. Australian teams in the tournament are the Perth Scorchers and Hobart Hurricanes (finalists from this year’s KFC T20 Big Bash League).
Despite the popularity of the Big Bash League (which saw record ratings on Channel Ten over summer) and the fact that the CLT20 features two Australian teams, no Australian television broadcaster (either free-to-air or subscription) has signed up to telecast the two-week tournament from India.
Ten broadcast the tournament last year (in the lead-up to its Big Bash League coverage) and Fox Sports has aired the tournament previously but this time it seems Australian viewers will be left having to seek live coverage online (on a subscription basis) via the official broadcaster www.starsports.com.
The lack of an Australian broadcaster for the 2014 edition of the CLT20 is the same fate that the Indian Premier League (IPL) currently suffers in Australia. The IPL has been unable to find an Australian broadcaster for a number of years (Ten initially broadcast the IPL), meaning Australia fans have had to jump onto YouTube for official live coverage.
The lack of an Australian broadcaster for the CLT20 will no doubt be a concern for Cricket Australia as it is a part-owner of the tournament alongside the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket South Africa.
Unless there is a late deal done (for example) by Ten to provide TV coverage of the CLT20 to Australian audiences, it seems the 2014 edition will only be available to Australian audiences online via Star Sports’ web portal.
For those not in Australia, broadcasters of the tournament globally are as follows: