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BT Sport beats Sky to Ashes rights deal

BT Sport has secured the rights to Australia home cricket test matches for next five years in a deal costing it around £16 million (€21.87m) a year. This will include the 2017-18 series, where Australia will seek to reclaim the Ashes lost to England in the recently-ended series.

That tour it will be the first overseas trip by England broadcast live by a service other than Sky for 27 years, dating back to the tour of the West Indies in 1990.

BT Sport is now likely to be eyeing up the next broadcast deal with the England & Wales Cricket Board for England home matches. The ECB’s current agreement with Sky ends in 2019.

The deal with Cricket Australia will see 210 days of international Australian cricket to be shown on BT Sport.

BT Sport will show all Australian Test Matches, One Day Internationals and T20 Internationals played in Australia, including the five-match Ashes Test Series against England in 2017/18. Multiple series against world leading nations such as New Zealand, South Africa, India and Pakistan will also be broadcast on BT Sport.

The rights also include the hugely successful 35 KFC Big Bash League matches, which see international stars flocking down under, including South African legend Jacques Kallis and former England international Kevin Pietersen.BT Sport will also show the women’s Ashes and the women’s T20 Big Bash League.

BT Sport has also acquired a free-to-air rights package that includes daily highlights of international matches and the Big Bash League, as well as one Big Bash League ‘match of the round’ broadcast live and free each week.

The deal with Cricket Australia is in addition to BT Sport’s broadcasting of the annual Caribbean Premier League T20 cricket tournament featuring some of the world’s biggest stars such as Chris Gayle.

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 the agreement signalled a new era in Australian cricket broadcasting. “We are delighted to be entering into this important new partnership with BT Sport,” Mr 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.”

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