Sky maintains grip on UK cricket coverage
Sky Sports has secured live UK rights deals to a host of international cricket series, including six overseas tours by the England team, until 2020.
The pay-TV broadcast giant has agreed deals to show all Test, one-day international and Twenty20 matches from upcoming England trips to Australia, South Africa and India, building on a long history of showing international matches during the English winter.
IMG Media, which markets international broadcast rights for Cricket Australia, has agreed a four-year deal with Sky Sports, encompassing the next two Ashes series in Australia as well as visits by South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, India and New Zealand, and the domestic Twenty20 Big Bash League. IMG Media has also agreed a deal with Sky Sports for Cricket South Africa's rights until 2020. This will feature two England tours as well as home series for the Proteas - who replaced England at the top of the ICC test rankings this summer - against every other Test nation. It also includes domestic Twenty20 cricket.
A six-year deal has also been agreed to show live international cricket from India, including two England tours and series with Australia, West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
The news comes as Sky Sports begins live coverage of the ICC World Twenty20 from Sri Lanka, the rights to which it secured as part of a three-year deal with ICC broadcast partner ESPN Star Sports in May.
Barney Francis, the managing director of Sky Sports, said: "The Ashes is one of world sport's greatest events and we can now guarantee the next three series, home and away. Test cricket has always been core to Sky Sports and it continues this winter with the start of a six-year deal with India. Then, as England look to take the Test crown back from South Africa our viewers can see their next two series in South Africa."
He added: "These deals give our viewers great live cricket guaranteed for years ahead; our cricket schedule is simply stronger than ever with England at home and on Tour, the leading ICC events, the major Test nations and a depth of county cricket, a line-up of live cricket right through the calendar."
Earlier this year, Sky Sports agreed an extension worth a reported UK£280 million (US$442 million) to its exclusive deal with the ECB for the rights to England home internationals and domestic cricket until 2017, with the right to extend until 2019. Sky has carried live coverage of every England overseas tour since 1990.
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