23 Oct 2017
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Sky Sports, ECB ink 5-year partnership for England cricket

MUMBAI: UK sports broadcaster Sky Sports has agreed to 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.

Taking its partnership with English cricket into its third decade, the deal will give customers more live cricket than ever before, said the two parties.

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 Sky Ride cycling initiative, 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.

Sky Sports MD Barney Francis said, “At Sky Sports we love cricket and so do our customers. 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 8-year Sky Ride initiative, we are committed to working with the ECB to help grow the game at all levels.”

ECB CEO Tom Harrison said, “Sky Sports have offered a true partnership – more than a broadcast deal – with their shared vision for cricket. 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.”

Sky Sports said that last year, its cricket coverage reached nearly eight 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.

Cricket is part of a year-round schedule of sport on Sky Sports offering customers 65,000 hours across eight channels. Coverage includes the best matches from the Premier League, every Formula 1® Grand Prix weekend, British & Irish Lions and England rugby plus golf’s Majors.

The team includes analysis from Sir Ian Botham, David Gower, Michael Atherton, Nasser Hussain, David Lloyd, Ian Ward, Michael Holding and Shane Warne. Sky added that it has pioneered innovations that have had a lasting impact on the sport, including ball tracking, Hot-Spot, HD and Ultra HD coverage, ultra-motion cameras, Batcam, and Spidercam this summer for the first Test against South Africa at Lord’s.

Non-subscribers of Sky Sports can also watch cricket without a contract through TV streaming service Now TV. With a Sky Sports Day Pass for £6.99 or Sky Sports Week Pass for £10.99, viewers can enjoy access to seven Sky Sports channels on TV with a Now TV box, on the web or via a range of devices.