BT Sport will bring UK cricket fans exclusive coverage of the 2017/18 Ashes after striking a five-year deal with Cricket Australia giving it rights to 210 days of top-flight international matches, including the high-profile England v Australia clash.
The deal makes BT the first UK broadcaster other than Sky to show overseas England cricket matches in 25 years and means it’s set to become an unmissable add-on for many pay-TV homes.
BT Sport already offers subscribers exclusive live coverage of the Caribbean T20 and will now add all Australian Test Matches, One Day Internationals and T20 Internationals played in Australia to its cricket line-up.
Today’s deal, which covers the UK and Ireland and starts in October 2016, also includes the KFC Big Bash League and the women’s Ashes and T20 Big Bash League.
It also includes live streaming rights, meaning that BT Sport customers in the UK will be able to watch matches via the firm’s website and smartphone and tablet app and allows Cricket Australia to make BT Sport’s live stream available on its own digital platforms.
BT has also snapped up rights for a free-to-air rights package which includes daily highlights of international matches and the Big Bash League, as well as one Big Bash League ‘match of the round’ broadcast live each week.
That content is expected to air on its BT Showcase Freeview channel which launched earlier this summer and shows selected Champions and Europa League matches and will also show occasional Aviva Rugby clashes.
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 claimed the deal ignalled 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.”