BT Sport Wins Rights to Next Ashes Tour in Australia!
Monday August 24th 2015:
Chris: The full BT press release is below – thanks to BT for this. I will be back at the bottom of the release with my observations from this.
BT Sport to be the home of the 2017/18 Ashes
Australian International Cricket and KFC Big Bash League to be screened on BT Sport for Five Years
BT Sport to show the Ashes Down Under in 2017/18 as part of 210 days of exclusively live international cricket from 2016-2021
BT Sport is to become the home of The 2017/18 Australia vs England Ashes and will show all Australian home cricket internationals exclusively live in the UK, from 2016 to 2021, after winning a five-year rights deal.
Cricket fans will see England defend the Ashes when they travel down under in 2017/18, as part of 210 days of international Australian cricket to be shown on BT Sport.
BT Sport will show all Australian Test Matches, One Day Internationals and T20 Internationals played in Australia, 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.
The rights also include the hugely successful 35 KFC Big Bash League matches, which see international stars flocking down under, including South African legend Jacques Kallis and former England international Kevin Pietersen. BT Sport will also show the women’s Ashes and the women’s T20 Big Bash League.
BT Sport has also acquired a free-to-air rights package that includes daily highlights of international matches and the Big Bash League, as well as one Big Bash League ‘match of the round’ broadcast live and free each week.
The deal with Cricket Australia is in addition to BT Sport’s broadcasting of the annual Caribbean Premier League T20 cricket tournament featuring some of the world’s biggest stars such as Chris Gayle.
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. “We are delighted to be entering into this important new partnership with BT Sport,” Mr Amarfio said.
“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.
“With more cricket content now available via BT Sport, free-to-air television and through our digital platforms, we are making the game more accessible to more people. The principle of taking the game to more people is very important in our efforts to grow the game.”
Chris: Looks like some Cricket at least heading to BT Showcase! Great news – we do see a great highlights show of home internationals on Channel 5 and full credit to them, but Sky Sports has dominated the sport for a while, this goes a good way towards attracting a new audience to the game. The last Australian-based Ashes series had highlights on Pick TV, so at least through this news we know we’ll get to see free-to-air highlights again – (5 Tests, 5 ODIs, 3 T20s, so 33 highlights shows to my reckoning). Then there’s the Big Bash League – if there’s nightly highlights then that could be about 30 hours per year of highlights (35 games in the tournament, some days they play two games). And the tournament lasts about five weeks, so with one match broadcast free each week that could be around five games live on Freeview – which helps towards ITV4 losing the Indian Premier League to Sky Sports, we haven’t had live cricket in any shape or form since then). And let’s remember, this is a five year deal – so that’s a lot of cricket coverage we wouldn’t have expected. Good on BT Sport for bringing some of this to a wider audience – it would be quite easy to put all of the games behind a paywall – this tactic of giving viewers a ‘tease’ might just attract their subscription base even further.