BT Sport win battle to show England’s next Ashes series in Australia in huge … – Telegraph.co.uk
It also confirms BT Sport as major rivals to Sky for the next broadcast deal with the England & Wales Cricket Board.
Delia Bushell, Managing Director of BT TV and BT Sport, said: “BT Sport is delighted to be adding international cricket to its line-up, and to be the new home of the next Ashes tour in Australia. We will show live domestic games featuring the best players in the world during the Big Bash League and all Australian home matches for the next five years.”
Cricket Australia Executive General Manager of Media, Communications & Marketing Ben Amarfio said: “BT Sport put forward a highly compelling bid for the rights to broadcast cricket from Australia to audiences throughout the United Kingdom. They are uniquely placed to become one of the UK’s largest sports channels and we think cricket can provide the content and opportunities to help them do just that.
“With more cricket content now available via BT Sport, free-to-air television and through our digital platforms, we are making the game more accessible to more people. The principle of taking the game to more people is very important in our efforts to grow the game.”
The ECB’s current agreement with Sky ends in 2019 and its next contract will be the most lucrative deal in its history. Colin Graves, the chairman of the ECB, and the board’s chief executive, Tom Harrison, will be delighted to see BT Sport emerge as credible cricket broadcasters knowing that competition will drive up the market.
The board has put on hold plans for an eight team domestic Twenty20 tournament until it negotiates the next television deal and by having two potential bidders fighting for rights, the ECB will be in a much stronger position to sell a new tournament to the counties because it will be realistically able to spread its rights across more than one broadcaster.
Sky faced little competition when they signed their last deal with the ECB in 2012 but since then BT Sport have emerged to change the broadcast landscape.
They recently won the rights to the Champions League and FA Cup from Sky and ITV and have long harboured an interest in cricket.
At the moment they only have rights to the Caribbean Premier League but from the end of next year will be able to show all of Australia’s home international cricket.
The Ashes series will be the marquee event and its loss will be a blow for Sky but they retain rights to the next Australia series in England in 2019 and that summer’s World Cup.
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