Sky Sports will broadcast all World Cups in the UK and Ireland under an exclusive eight-year deal signed with the ICC for an undisclosed sum.
The arrangement marks the first time that the two organizations have shared a direct contractual relationship and is part of the ICC’s drive to sell media rights individually in major markets.
However there was no bidding process involved for the UK market. In a media release on Friday, the ICC said it has decided to engage directly with Sky, which already has a long-term broadcast deal with the ECB to show cricket – both men’s and women’s – within the UK.
It is understood that instead of a tender process, the ICC took into account the ECB-Sky relationship and felt that a direct deal with Sky would be beneficial. The ICC believed that doing so would make things easier from a production and marketing perspective.
Starting in early 2024, the partnership will see Sky and its Now streaming service hold the broadcast and digital rights to all men’s and women’s ICC events, including the ODI and T20I World Cups, until the end of 2031.
During the partnership, Sky will broadcast 28 international events, including both the men’s and women’s showcase every year, as well as the World Test Championship final every two years and the Under-19 tournament. Three of those events have already been confirmed to take place on UK soil – the 2025 World Test Championship final, the Women’s T20 World Cup in 2026 and the 2030 Men’s T20 World Cup.
Allardyce said, “I am confident that this partnership can support our long-term ambition of attracting more players and more fans to the game.”
Jonathan Licht, managing director of Sky Sports, said that following the success of the England women’s team at the 2017 World Cup and the twin successes of the men’s team at the 50-over and T20 World Cups, more people in the market were watching top-class cricket – than they are currently. Holder of both trophies.
“This new direct partnership with the ICC means that Sky Sports viewers in the UK and Ireland will be able to enjoy every ball, run, wicket and catch of every international tournament for many years to come and we are all very excited to see That’s what’s in store,” he said.
The 2019 Men’s World Cup, hosted by England, recorded the highest average audience for a cricket tournament in the UK to date and attracted the highest UK TV peak for cricket of 8.8m viewers as Sky shared rights to the final with Channel 4. Did it England’s victory over Pakistan in the men’s T20 World Cup final in Australia last year was the most watched T20 match in the UK following a similar partnership with the terrestrial broadcaster.
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