Sky and Five agree new cricket dealBBC is criticised for not bidding for the rights

06 August 2008

Playing cricket

Live cricket has moved to Sky Sports

Satellite broadcaster Sky has retained the TV rights to screen live cricket until 2013.

The deal will give Sky Sports exclusive live coverage of England's home Test matches up to and including the Ashes series in 2013.

Live coverage of all one-day and Twenty20 internationals, plus coverage of the Twenty20 cup and the new English Premier League, is also included in the package.

At the same time Five has secured the rights to screen a highlights package at 7.15pm.

Terrestrial TV

However, the new deal means there will be no live cricket on terrestrial TV after the BBC decided against bidding.

Giles Clarke, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), called for a public debate into the reasons why the BBC failed to make a bid for the various packages.

He said: ‘Now is the time for a real debate on the future of public sector sports broadcasting, which I know is under consideration and under review.

‘All these people interested in cricket buy TV licences and surely they should have a right to expect that the public sector broadcasters mount bids for the nation's summer sport as they do in the case of 12 other sports?

'After all, just how many people play Formula One? If the BBC is to remain part of this it must answer to the millions of cricket fans in England and Wales how it prioritises its investment in sports rights.'

Formula One

But a BBC spokeswoman rejected the ECB's claims and said: 'The BBC is astonished by the comments by the ECB.

‘We've always said any bid for live Test cricket was subject to value for money and fitting into scheduling and in our view neither of these criteria were met.

‘We have consistently argued that not having cricket as a listed event puts it out of the reach of all terrestrial broadcasters.

‘That's the ECB's choice and they are entitled to it, but it's absurd to blame the BBC for this outcome.’