Broadcast rights deal concluded
Following unanimous ratification from the ECB Management Board, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced the results of cricket's next broadcasting rights negotiations covering international and county cricket in the years 2006-2009.
The new agreements guarantee wide accessibility to cricket across a number of media platforms and they secure the future of cricket from playground to Test arena.
The ECB announced that Sky Sports will gain exclusive rights to the live broadcast of all home international and domestic cricket in England and Wales, while Five has gained the rights to show highlights of home international cricket on prime time television - action from every day's play, apart from day/night games, will be shown at the peak time evening slot of 7.15pm-8.00pm.
BBC Radio retains its exclusive radio commentary rights to all home international cricket as well as the non-exclusive rights to cover domestic county cricket.
The Wireless Group, owners of TalkSPORT, have been awarded the non-exclusive rights to provide live commentary of Twenty20 Cup matches.
The ECB is also in negotiations for the worldwide mobile wireless rights to all international cricket. The ECB retains the broadband rights to its matches.
Cricket followers, therefore, will in future be able to view cricket action via a wider variety of platforms than ever before - on cable, satellite and terrestrial television, commercial and non-commercial radio, via the mobile and on the internet.
These commercial deals will bring a total of up to £220m to cricket over the four year period, an increase of up to 10% in real terms on equivalent deals struck from 2002-2005.
The major international touring teams during the years of the contract are Sri Lanka and Pakistan (2006), India and West Indies (2007), Zimbabwe and South Africa (2008), New Zealand and Australia (2009).
David Morgan, ECB Chairman, said: "This is a very good deal for cricket. We have guaranteed a wide accessibility to cricket across a number of media platforms and have financially secured the future of the game.
"We have guaranteed uninterrupted ball-by-ball coverage of all international cricket, coverage which will not be restricted by other scheduling pressures. This will be on Sky Sports with its fast growing subscriber base.
"We have also ensured more convenient and consistent access to cricket for many people on terrestrial TV by guaranteeing the broadcast of highlights from 7.15-8.00pm.
"This is when an average of 21 million watch TV, compared to an average of 5-11 million people from 11am-5pm, and is the most popular time for children to watch television during the day.
“The ECB Management Board would like to thank Channel 4 for their excellent coverage of cricket and support of the game. We are, of course, looking forward to continuing our partnership with them next year with their coverage of the Ashes series.
"On radio, Test Match Special remains a key element of cricket's broadcast strategy and our strong partnership with BBC Radio will continue to give cricket excellent exposure through their variety of networks. And we welcome TalkSPORT as a partner to help us expand the appeal of the Twenty20 Cup.
"Our mobile rights agreement, when concluded, will allow people to access information, pictures and highlights of the cricket via their mobile phones, which is becoming increasingly popular especially amongst young people.
"The financial element to the deal guarantees cricket's future development as it allows the ECB to continue to develop the game with confidence, securing the funds needed to continue building a successful England team and to continue nurturing the grass roots of the sport."
John Pickup, Chairman of the Recreational Forum, said: "Cricket's recreational game should welcome this deal. It was the best possible package on offer.
"Grass roots cricket needs funding to thrive and this deal will see funding to the recreational game increase, while other options would have led to a significant decrease in support.
"Yes, it is a shame that live cricket will not be on terrestrial TV but it would also be a shame if the number of coaches, competitions and development initiatives were significantly cut as well.
"The excellent highlights deal will deliver strong terrestrial coverage and the grass roots of the sport will continue to grow."
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