Dubai, Jan 28 (IANS) Sky Sports will be broadcasting all International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments in the UK and Ireland till the end of 2031 after signing a new eight-year deal with the cricket’s world governing body.
For the first time, there will be a direct contractual relationship between the ICC and Sky Sports.
“We are delighted to partner with Sky Sports until 2031 as the home of ICC cricket in the UK and Ireland. For the first time the partnership will be a direct relationship with Sky Sports which gives us some exciting opportunities for innovative collaborations. I am confident this partnership can support our long-term ambition to attract more players and more fans to the game,” said Geoff Allardice, ICC Chief Executive, in an official statement on Friday.
Starting from 2024, the partnership will see Sky and its streaming platform NOW hold the ICC Broadcast and Digital rights for all men’s and women’s events at the pinnacle of the sport including the ICC Cricket World Cups and ICC T20 World Cups through to the end of 2031.
During the course of the partnership, there will be both a major international men’s and women’s event every year as well as a World Test Championship Final every two years.
The new deal reaffirms Sky as the long-term home of cricket in the UK and Ireland, broadcasting 28 international events between 2024 and 2031 across men’s, women’s and u19 cricket. This also includes three confirmed events on UK soil, the ICC World Test Championship Final 2025, the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2026 and the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2030.
“With more people watching cricket at the highest-level after England men’s and women’s successes in 2017, 2019 and 2022, our award-winning coverage strives to give cricket fans the complete experience, with all the action both on and off the pitch.
This new direct partnership with the ICC means that Sky Sports viewers in the UK & Ireland will continue to enjoy every ball, run, wicket and catch from every international tournament for many years to come, and we’re all hugely excited to see what’s in store,” said Jonathan Licht, Sky Sports MD.
ICC events have had registered record viewing in the UK in recent years. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 recorded the highest average audience for a cricket tournament in the UK to date and drew the highest ever UK TV peak for cricket of 8.8m viewers as Sky shared the rights to the Final with Channel 4.
England’s victory over Pakistan in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Final last year at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia was the highest viewed T20 match in the UK ever following a similar partnership with the terrestrial broadcaster.
Last year in August, Disney Star had bagged rights to broadcast all ICC men’s and women’s events in India on a four-year deal from 2024 to 2027. Less than 48 hours later, it announced that they had licensed the TV broadcasting rights of the Men’s and Under-19 events to Zee.