ECB announces TV deal
The England and Wales Cricket Board is delighted to announce enhanced deals for its broadcast contracts for the period 2010-2013.
Sky Sports have won the rights to domestic and international cricket in England and Wales.
At the same time Five have agreed a deal for a highlights package to be screened at the popular family-friendly time of 7.15-8pm.
There will also be, for the first time, Welsh language television coverage of five matches involving Glamorgan on S4C with five matches plus the Welsh Village Cup.
The ECB produced the tender documentation for these rights following detailed consultation with all broadcasters to provide the maximum opportunity for each broadcaster to bid for a variety of packages.
It was recognised that some television broadcasters indicated that they did not have the scheduling capacity to bid for all the matches which were on offer. The tender process was therefore deliberately crafted in a non-discriminatory way to allow as many broadcasters as possible to compete for the rights.
The ECB therefore offered 35 packages to the broadcasters and these included the opportunity to buy individual Tests, series or competitions and contained a mix of live and highlights.
Broadcasters were not required to bid for all matches of a particular competition – for example all seven Test matches but could bid for some for example one or three Tests. The broadcasters could bid for part or parts of any package.
This process conducted was in compliance of UK and EU law and was made available to all broadcasters. The ECB made itself available to all broadcasters to discuss the ITT and various options on scheduling, price and format.
The ECB has been in constant dialogue with broadcasters during the ITT process so as to encourage and welcome bids.
Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, said: “I am delighted that we have reached agreements with Sky Sports and Five which demonstrates their commitment to cricket in England and Wales.
“We held extensive talks with all broadcasters and were determined to be as flexible as possible in terms of our packaging and scheduling to allow the maximum number of bids for cricket from all areas of the broadcast industry.
“The ECB recognise and are grateful for Sky Sports’ loyalty to the sport – both at home and when the England team tour overseas.
“We are also grateful for their investment and commitment to the English Premier League Twenty20 competition which will begin in June 2010 and was agreed by the ECB board at their July meeting.
“The ECB has also been delighted that Five share our vision of highlights being screened in the early evening slot to allow as many families and young viewers to watch international cricket.
“I am also delighted that S4C will be able to show Glamorgan matches with commentary in the Welsh language and welcome their support for the Welsh Village Cup, which they will also show.
“I would like to thank Clive Leach, David Collier and John Perera for their hard work during the ITT process and for delivering television contracts which will allow the ECB to continue their considerable investment in grassroots cricket.”
David Collier, the ECB chief executive, added: “During the last four years the board has been able to make unprecedented investment in cricket at all levels and the added value of the new deal will enable the ECB to continue that policy of investment which will benefit players from the playground to Test arena and spectators alike.
“In this process the ECB took into consideration the Culture, Media and Sport Select committee findings in 2005 and made a concerted and determined effort to ensure that there was an opportunity for all to bid for all or any part of the 35 packages available.
“We had countless meetings with broadcasters and I am convinced that we now have achieved the best deal available to cricket from those companies who expressed an interest in the rights.”
Vic Wakeling, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “In all our discussions with the ECB, we have been pleased to hear their 100 per cent commitment to Test cricket at a time when the game is experiencing so many changes, worldwide.
“It was also made clear to us, at the outset of talks, that the ECB would encourage competition for individual Test series, or one-off Test matches.
“Sky has ended up with all the Test matches in each year of this new deal and we shall work with the ECB to give Test cricket the support it deserves.
“We look forward to many more days of the type of tense and fiercely competitive Test cricket we enjoyed at Edgbaston on Saturday.
“There will be new competitions, of course, and we are delighted that they too will be seen live on Sky Sports. We firmly believe, in this country, there is interest and demand among cricket fans of all ages for all forms of the game.
“We shall continue to offer HD coverage of all games, and to invest in new technology as it is developed.
"I think everyone in the game accepts that there is more experience, quality and variety in our various commentary teams than any broadcaster has ever assembled at any time in the past, and we shall continue to develop programming which, we hope, will appeal to all.
"More and more young people have come to the game - as players and spectators - over the past couple of years, and we shall be working with the ECB to maintain this trend."
Robert Charles, Five’s controller of sport, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have renewed our contract with the ECB for another four years as cricket enters an exciting new era.
“Our commitment to showing exclusive free-to-air highlights of England’s Test matches and one-day internationals in peak-time, together with the high quality of our programmes, produced by Sunset+Vine, has been the key to the success of our coverage.
“And in Mark Nicholas, Geoffrey Boycott and Simon Hughes, along with Barry Richards this summer, we have a commentary team second to none.
“Test match cricket has consistently delivered excellent audiences in the 7.15pm slot – men in the ABC1 social economic group as well as a family audience – which has been very well received by advertisers.”
He added: “We look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with the ECB and to a successful period for the England team.”
Geraint Rowlands, sport content Editor at S4C, said: "S4C is delighted at the prospect of showing live cricket in the Welsh language. In showing live and exclusive free to air coverage of five Glamorgan matches, highlights, and extensive coverage of the exciting new Welsh Village Cup competition, S4C will play a key role in the future development of cricket at all levels in Wales."