Don Bradman, Kerry Packer and the secret deal to end World Series Cricket conflict
In the late 1970s Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket launched the sport in to a period of huge, unprecedented upheaval.
The professional breakaway competition was devised as a means for Packer and his Nine Network to wrestle exclusive broadcasting away from the ABC, and in the process exploit the latent profits available from the national game in an era before commercialisation at ACB head office.
Leading players were enticed with the promise of pay more commensurate with their contribution to the game and the controversial, fractious revolution brought in a series of innovations that will be familiar to cricket fans of today.
Dan Brettig, author of the new book ‘Bradman & Packer’ joins Andrew Menczel to discuss how this meeting came about and the legacy left by the deal they did.
In his new book, ‘Bradman & Packer – The Deal that Changed Cricket’, journalist Daniel Brettig chronicles the era and the legacy it left be shinning a light on the circumstances around the deal that was brokered — in secret — between Packer and Sir Don Bradman, then a ACB administrator, to end Australian cricket’s civil war.
Speaking to the News Corp Cricket Unfiltered Podcast, he explains how and why two figures who loom large over Australian public life in the previous century, and still to this day, came to undertake their clandestine meeting, and the consequences felt by the sport since.
“If you look at the whole of the story — and a lot of the story has been buried in old ACB board minutes and the recollections of those involved — I don’t think the ACB and the administration side should necessarily venerate Donald Bradman as an administrator quite as much as they do,” he says.
“In terms of what happened here — he got played off the break by Packer and his lieutenants.
“Equally I feel that the players shouldn’t venerate Kerry Packer as much as they do.
“Yes he brought in a lot of innovation to the game, brought in full time professionalism in terms of players earning a living wage.
“But that was really a side effect of what he really wanted, which was exclusive television rights for a long term. And the money he made out of that was enormous relative to the money that was actually coming back in to the game for quite some time.”
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Originally published as Bradman, Packer and the deal that changed cricket