He got us to the pointy end, which is quiet extraordinary.The same Ben Buckley who led Australia's shambolic World Cup soccer bid, frittering away $46 million (including $15 million paid to (consultants) of taxpayers money in the process.
Really? He was CEO of FFA at the time. Has to take part of the blame. It was shambolic - he was head of the federation.
We were naive on what FIFA wa$ really intere$t$d in.Really? He was CEO of FFA at the time. Has to take part of the blame. It was shambolic - he was head of the federation.
Best line I have ever read was not long after the failed bid (I may have names wrong but you get the drift). To present their bids England sent Beckham, USA sent a former President and we sent Barbie and her nanna. (GG Quentin Bryce and Elle McPherson).
If this guy is in charge, more Hobart games are on the table.[Pat] 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.
The Seven deal was a prime example of CA’s general air of disregard for those they deal with. They were obsessed with topping a billion dollars to stand alongside the AFL and NRL. How to get there wasn’t important. Nine was the stale old-school partner. Network Ten had done the game a service, growing the Big Bash from a joke fluorescent league that no one could watch on pay TV to a summer staple in a world that accepted ‘the Brisbane Heat’ as a reasonable concept. People found a new presentation refreshing, it was free to air, and the viewer average jumped from 236,000 a night to nearly a million on Ten. Now the BBL was successful, CA wanted every dollar back.
Nine and Ten offered a joint deal. Amarfio met them for less than fifteen minutes and dismissed it as ‘non-compliant’. Peever asked Ten’s American owner CBS not to ‘include local management as I feel they are not prepared to challenge their operating model to be anything other than bottom feeders’. All totally normal and professional.
Ten went all in: $960 million for the lot. Their secondary channels would broadcast men’s and women’s Big Bash, domestic one-dayers, even the white elephant Sheffield Shield. It could have been an amazing coup for cricket. But you may have noticed that 960 million is less than a billion. So CA signed all the valuable games to Foxtel, as long as a free-to-air partner would simulcast Tests and some BBL.
Ten was told this was now all they could bid for. They offered $80 million a year and Sutherland shook on it. Then Seven was allowed another bid, worth $82 million. The network that had revitalised cricket broadcasting and made CA’s risky Big Bash gamble a winner was punted over comparative pocket change. Sutherland made an appearance with the victorious network heads, the three of them trying to manage various bits of cricket gear in a photo as awkward as David Cameron posing with a pig.
The Australian limited-overs teams went behind a paywall. The future for 50-over cricket is bleaker than ever, but its demise has been predicted for so long that perhaps CA decided to wring the last cash from it while they could. A tax-exempt body would now privatise its output, making the people who subsidised it pay to watch teams that bore their name. It clearly circumvented anti-siphoning laws that keep national teams on free channels, because technically Seven bought the rights to games it would choose not to screen. The federal government shrugged, because who is the government to stop people making money doing whatever they like? The billion was banked. A month later, news emerged that CA had told Bangladesh not to bother coming for a scheduled Test tour because it would cost too much.
To want to cut out the ABC from the cricket broadcasts, given its reach to regional and remote Australia, is frankly, un-Australian. He seems to have burned plenty of bridges also and I doubt he could draw you a football.
He doesn't give a sh*t about anything except trying to squeeze some extra dollars.Dunno how you arrived there mate.
What it shows me is that he's prepared to "bend" things in order to achieve the optimal result.
I am ALL for that.
Sure, but if that was an error I give Buckley great credit for being big enough to review things and change direction. He has turned the leadership of the place upside down in the last 6 months.Was Buckley part of the board that inexplicably chose to extend Scott and promote Alan's boy to Head of Football? Mind you, Scott did say he was always going to do whatever's best for North, so how could the board have predicated the payout fallout? Was Buckley not the Chairman that ticked off us playing an extra game on the Map? On the available evidence it would concern me if Ben is advocating this Armanath bloke.
The fact that Eugene has remained a paid-up member and consistently attends games - including interstate - suggests the bloke was truly invested and involved for the right reasons.Can imagine Caro coming in off the long run (pardon the pun) at this appointment and on the surface of it seems justified. We lost one CEO because we can't manage conflicts of interest and we might be lumped with a dud one as a result. Come back Funky Carl.
Mmmm....Is this another jobs for the boys appointment?
Previously worked at MMM and CA. James Brayshaw, MMM and formerly Renegades. How close is their relationship?
If we start running the place to appease toe rags like Wilson then we might as well shut up shop. If she does start frothing then we’ve probably made a good decision if we appoint him. The mere thought of North Melbourne failing is an aphrodisiac for her.Can imagine Caro coming in off the long run (pardon the pun) at this appointment and on the surface of it seems justified. We lost one CEO because we can't manage conflicts of interest and we might be lumped with a dud one as a result. Come back Funky Carl.
That reads as a ridiculous opinion piece.To want to cut out the ABC from the cricket broadcasts, given its reach to regional and remote Australia, is frankly, un-Australian. He seems to have burned plenty of bridges also and I doubt he could draw you a football.
Then there's another CA executive, Ben Amarfio, who earned the moniker "Johnny Rivers" in 2016 when he was busted moonlighting as a Secret Agent Man for sports commentator James Brayshaw. That's right, the executive managing cricket's $120 million per year broadcast partnerships was approaching broadcasters pitching the services of a mate.
The broadcasters were appalled and unsurprised. This kind of behaviour from Amarfio was already fabled. Most mornings, in full view of his speechless colleagues at Jolimont, he had his secretary cook and serve him a hot breakfast in his glass-encased office. "Where's the Worcestershire sauce?!" he famously thundered. What else would you expect from Eddie McGuire's former sales director at Triple M's Hot Breakfast?
Way back in 2013, Amarfio reckoned scandal "actually creates a lot more interest in your brand and your sport" and that "it's not always such a bad thing to get negative press", referring to rugby league's string of them. "The NRL has had players assault women, players assault policemen, they've had drugs, corruption and match-fixing issues– the list goes on and on. And yet they've just signed a TV deal … almost 50 per cent bigger than their last [one]." Johnny Rivers quickly qualified his comments, adding that "I only worry about it when it gets to the stage [of] immoral or doing something illegal". Other than domestic violence, assaulting a police officer, drugs, corruption and match-fixing?