BT Sport has signed a deal to screen the 2017/18 as part of a five-year deal with Cricket Australia.
The agreement comes as a major blow to Sky Sports, which has covered England’s oversea’s cricket tours since England’s visit to the West Indies in 1990 and also holds the live rights to England’s domestic and international cricket. It has just completed the coverage of five Ashes Tests in England through a dedicated channel.
The deal will see BT screen 210 days of international cricket including the five-match Ashes Test Series against rivals 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. Also included are 35 KFC Big Bash League matches, the women’s Ashes and the women’s T20 Big Bash League.
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. “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.”
BT will no doubt look to assemble its own cricket team to rival that of Sky, which has a commentary box packed with former England captains, all of whom are under captains. In the short-term it can be expected that BT relays the coverage of Australian broadcaster Channel 9 for matches not involving England.