Live cricket will return to BBC in 2020 after 21-year absence

England and Wales Cricket Board announce new television rights deals

England captain  Eoin Morgan poses for a photograph with the series trophy as England players celebrate winning the Twenty20 series against South Africa. The BBC will show two live England T20 internationals from 2020 as part of the new cricket rights package. Photograph:   Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

England captain Eoin Morgan poses for a photograph with the series trophy as England players celebrate winning the Twenty20 series against South Africa. The BBC will show two live England T20 internationals from 2020 as part of the new cricket rights package. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

 

Live English cricket will return to free-to-air television in 2020 after the BBC won the rights for 21 matches each summer, while Sky Sports held off stern competition from BT Sport to remain its status as the sport’s primary broadcaster.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the results of its next five-year rights package, covering the 2020-2024 period, on Friday and hailed the new arrangement – which will bring in a bumper windfall of £1.1 billion (€1.25 billion) – as a significant boost for the game at large.

English cricket has not been available live on free-to-air TV since the 2005 Ashes series, shown by Channel 4, and was last seen on the BBC in 1999. The deal will see the corporation show two Twenty20 internationals, one women’s T20 international, 10 games from the new T20 competition and eight from the women’s equivalent.

The BBC has also guaranteed a primetime slot for highlights packages of all other England matches, a bundle currently held by Channel 5, while digital clips will be made available on social media and web platforms. Test Match Special, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this summer, will continue to be part of the landscape with BBC Radio winning exclusive radio rights amid a push from talkSport.

Sky Sports will remain the home of all live Test, one-day and T20 internationals, as well as the county game, though BT Sport’s entry into the market helped drive the cost far beyond the existing €85 million-a-year deal. A dedicated Sky Cricket channel is expected to follow.

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