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Sky Sports has agreed a new five-year partnership with the England & Wales Cricket Board that includes live rights to international and county cricket from 2020 – including every match from the new T20 competition – and what it describes as a “ground-breaking” commitment to drive participation and further interest in the game. Sky beat off reported interest from BT to secure the deal.
Taking its partnership with English cricket into its third decade, the deal will give customers more live cricket than ever before.
The agreement means that between now and 2024, Sky Sports will be the only place to watch live coverage of all England home Tests, ODIs and T20s, women’s matches and county cricket. Only on Sky Sports can fans watch all matches from the new eight-team T20 competition launching in 2020.
Following its hugely successful Sky Ride cycling initiative which created interest and participation amongst millions of people of all ages, Sky will also work with ECB to develop a new participation and engagement approach to help deliver the ECB’s ambitions to grow the game at all levels. Working with the game’s partners, including the BBC, will provide another opportunity to inspire more fans to enjoy the sport.
“At Sky Sports we love cricket and so do our customers,” declared Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports. “This is a ground-breaking agreement that represents a new and exciting approach to sports rights in this country. It extends our partnership with the game into a third decade and will see us work with the ECB to excite and engage cricket fans of all ages. We will continue to innovate in our coverage and make it accessible across our channels, products and services. And drawing on our experience of getting millions on their bikes with our successful eight-year Sky Ride initiative, we are committed to working with the ECB to help grow the game at all levels.”
“Sky Sports have offered a true partnership – more than a broadcast deal – with their shared vision for cricket,” added Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer. “Their innovation and production standards are widely acclaimed. Here, they further increase their live commitment and have added bold ideas to drive engagement and to help to get a bat and ball in more hands.”
Last year Sky’s cricket coverage reached nearly 8 million viewers. As well as live match coverage that includes over 200 England matches home and abroad between now and 2024, Sky Sports will provide comprehensive coverage and support across its TV, mobile, digital and social platforms. This includes round-the-clock news, views and highlights on Sky Sports News HQ, skysports.com and Sky’s digital and social media outlets.
Alongside England home cricket for the next seven years, viewers can look forward to the new domestic T20 competition launching in 2020, NatWest T20 Blast, County Championship plus the women’s KIA Super League. The Sky Sports cricket schedule also includes England in ICC competitions until 2023 and upcoming tours to Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa and West Indies. It lost out to BT for the rights to cover the prestigious Ashes series between Australia and England this winter and the telco had been expected to make a concerted effort to wrest further coverage from Sky.