- Jun 7, 2015
- AFL Club
- Other Teams
- Chelsea, Glory, Warriors, NOLA,
Not to mention the fact that he was one of the key people behind CA’s recent rights deal, and one of the geniuses who declined 10’s offer to show everything in favour of Foxtel + someone else, and then screw Channel 10 even more (agreement was made for 10 to do what 7 does at the moment basically, then back flipped because 7 offered $5 mill/year more and IIRC gave 10 basically no chance to big higher)North just appointed Ben Amarfio as its new CEO.
Ben was central to the rot at Cricket Australia. Here's a snippet from Geoff Lemon's book: Credit
Howard at least comes across as believing he’s doing the right thing, even if his version of right is contestable. Amarfio seems less weighted by such concerns. He ran stations like the sports-schlock sausage factory of Triple M, and the former 2Day FM when it was home to some of the foulest trolls on air. ‘It’s not always such a bad thing to get negative press,’ he announced at a marketing event in 2013. ‘In the last twelve months, the NRL has had players assault women, players assault policemen, they’ve had drug, corruption and match fixing issues – the list goes on and on. And yet they’ve just signed a TV deal for over one billion dollars, which is almost fifty per cent bigger than their last TV deal.’
As long as someone’s making money, right? Media partners and colleagues describe Amarfio’s style as dismissive and antagonistic. CA staff leaked a small but indicative story to Australian Financial Review reporter Joe Aston: that while CA was promoting cricket as an inclusive sport for women, Amarfio was making his personal assistant cook him hot breakfasts and lunches at work each day. It was Amarfio who alienated the ABC in 2013 by banning it from providing online streams of its radio coverage, a disagreement that dragged on for years. In 2018 a well-sourced story said CA had strongly considered ditching the national broadcaster altogether. In a vast country, ABC networks reach corners where internet can’t, not to mention the audience’s connection with a broadcast that’s been going since Bradman played. Recent entrants on the scene saw that relationship as expendable.
Amarfio’s most bizarre episode was moonlighting as an agent for his friend James Brayshaw, a commentator who’d worked with him at Triple M. Predominantly a football caller who jarred with the rhythm of cricket, Brayshaw was Nine’s least popular voice out of a largely unloved bunch. When his contract negotiations foundered in 2016, Amarfio suddenly appeared wanting to act on his behalf. The same person running Nine’s broadcast rights negotiation wanted to represent its staff. Brayshaw wasn’t retained, and Amarfio contacted at least one other company trying to find him a job.
Sutherland’s response? ‘I don’t think it’s right that one of our staff was acting as an agent. But let’s just say they are things that we’ll deal with behind closed doors at Cricket Australia. I don’t think this is the place to be talking about that any further.’ Of course not, talking in public about potential ethical breaches of highly paid executives subsidised by the public would be gauche. We could all rest easy that behind those doors lay CA’s steely determination to get to the bottom of things.
It’s a curious timeline. Brayshaw’s peripheral role on Nine’s cricket became central after Amarfio moved to CA in 2012. Amarfio’s marketing department produced an ad campaign in 2014 centring Brayshaw’s voice and promoted him as one of ‘the Nine Network’s favourite commentators’. Around the time Brayshaw’s TV contract was stalling, Amarfio’s old station Triple M made a late and unexpected deal for cricket rights. The lead caller was James Brayshaw. And as Triple M cancelled its coverage after two summers, the TV rights switched to Seven where Brayshaw was now calling football. Not to suggest that commentary jobs could decide a rights deal, but having a mate who runs the negotiations is an unusual quirk.