Seven using AFL grand final to boost international cricket opener

Channel Seven will use this year's AFL grand final to leverage its debut international cricket broadcast when Australia hosts New Zealand in the first of three women's T20s at North Sydney Oval.

The September 29 clash has been scheduled as an evening fixture which will be shown on Seven's main channel, directly after the completion of the AFL grand final broadcast which attracted more than 2.7 million metropolitan viewers last year – the most of any television program in 2017.

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Cricket Australia and Channel Seven are hopeful a significant portion of this year's grand final viewership will keep the television on after the AFL's annual showpiece and tune into the Australian women's cricket team.

Foxtel will also show the match as part of Cricket Australia's recently announced $1.2 broadcast deal with that network and Seven over the next six years.

Seven will be confident of attracting a hefty television audience to the Australia-New Zealand clash at North Sydney Oval, and subsequent matches in Brisbane and Canberra, given the interest generated in the women's game last year through the World Cup, and and enthralling Ashes series.

“Sports fans will be in heaven, there can be no better way to launch the international women’s cricket season than under lights after millions have watched the AFL Grand Final," a Channel Seven spokesperson said.

“We can’t wait to bring viewers the premiership decider, followed by our elite cricketers taking on the Kiwis in front of an atmospheric crowd at North Sydney Oval.”

The three-match series against New Zealand precedes the Women's T20 World Cup in the Caribbean, where Australia will be looking to win back the title they lost to the West Indies.

New Zealand will return in February at the back end of the summer for a three-match one-day international series to be played in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne.

All three of those matches will be broadcast on Channel Seven, as will the Governer-General's XI clash against the visitors – the first time that game has been televised.

In a busy summer of women's cricket, Seven has also committed to televising 23 Women's Big Bash League games.

"It is great to have our national team playing Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand in six matches, all at different venues meaning the team will be accessible to fans right across the country," CA chief James Sutherland said.

Meanwhile, the Australian under-19s women are celebrating a series victory from their inaugural overseas tour after they beat South Africa by 21 runs in the Pretoria final.

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Coach Leah Poulton labelled the tour a resounding success.

"Our objective was to come away and give an overseas experience to some talented young cricketers, put them out of their comfort zone and give them a number of challenges in terms of opposition, conditions and then experiencing touring life," Poulton said.

"We’ve achieved that and I’m really proud of the way they’ve done.

"It’s part of our identification system, we’ve got a pretty comprehensive pathway structure at home as well, so this is another element of quite a large system that we roll out for our young players. The pathway structure is really important for Cricket Australia in terms of maintaining dominance moving forward."

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