Channel 5 has acquired the free-to-air TV rights in the UK to a selection of games from Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) T20 cricket tournament.
The commercial broadcaster will air five live matches from the franchise league, along with highlights of high-profile matches including the final on 28th January 2017. It represents the return of live cricket to UK terrestrial television for the first time since 2005, though digital channel ITV4 aired Indian Premier League (IPL) coverage from 2010 to 2014.
The financial terms of the deal have not been officially released but specialist outlet Cricbuzz reports that Viacom, the owner of Channel 5, paid a six-figure sum to show the fixtures.
Channel 5's coverage will be hosted by Mark Pougatch who will be joined by former England captain Michael Vaughan, Hampshire opener and former Perth Scorchers batsman Michael Carberry and England’s leading Test match wicket-taker James Anderson.
The past two seasons of the BBL were televised in the UK by pay-TV broadcaster Sky Sports but the 2016/17 edition will be shown on rival subscription channel BT Sport. Earlier this year, BT Sport agreed a UK£80 million (US$99.4 million) deal with Cricket Australia (CA) for the rights to Australia's home internationals and the Big Bash League for the next five years.